Lewis Hamilton says working to help increase diversity in Formula 1 is at the “top” of his long-term priorities. 

The six-time world champion, who was the first black driver to compete in F1, has often raised his concerns about the lack of diversity in the championship and last year vowed to work alongside the FIA to help improve the situation.

Hamilton grew up on a council estate in Stevenage and has previously spoken openly about the racist abuse he suffered throughout his childhood and junior career while climbing the motorsport ladder. 

Talking about his concerns at the 2019 season finale in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton said he has been “racking my mind and having a lot of discussions” to figure out what he can do to help but feels the sport is “not generally aligned” with his personal goals.

"I think where motorsport has gone, if you look at Formula 3, it’s not the same as it used to be,” Hamilton explained. 

“Formula Renault isn’t the stepping stone that it used to be. GP3, GP2, those things are getting continuously more expensive, and don’t generally need to be. 

“Karting is getting more and more expensive, but it doesn’t really need to be. But again, it’s because the business heads are not aligned with my thought process. 

“So I’m just trying to think about what I can do, and diversity is a continuous issue, and will continue to be an issue for a long time, and there’s only a certain amount I can do,” he added. 

“I am trying to think about what it is I can actually do and work with, and how I can work with F1, rather than it just be a tick on their list of things to add to we also do - which businesses often do, and actually have something that is really implemented and actually making an impactful difference being made. 

“So I’m still trying to understand that. But it is at the top of my priorities in terms of what I want to do long-term.” 

British-born Alexander Albon, who competes under Thai nationality, is just the second driver from Thailand to race in F1, and the first since Prince Bira in 1954. 

The Red Bull driver says he has already noticed a vast increase in interest in F1 in Thailand and hopes his presence on the grid will continue to boost the championship’s popularity in Asia. 

“I think it starts quite early through karting and things like that because most of it is done in Europe,” Albon said. 

“Of course it’s very expensive to send your kid to Europe to race but that’s where the competition is. One constant is that it’s quite difficult to get drivers from elsewhere. 

“You even see there’s not an American driver. It’s hard in that sense to get the competition. 

“It’s happening, it’s going in that direction and even in Thailand there are some young kids coming through who look really promising. Hopefully we’ll see some more Asians. 

“I’ve been in Thailand throughout the year when I can and every time I go there it’s just getting bigger and bigger. 

“It’s really exciting and I want there to be more people from Thailand involved in F1.” 

 

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