Six-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has taken to social media to express his ‘sadness and disappointment’ at comments made by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone in an interview over the issue of racism.

Ecclestone touched on a series of topics related to F1’s recent drive towards improving diversity, which in turn was spurred on by Hamilton’s outspoken views on racism and inequality in recent weeks as a response to the global Black Lives Matter movement.

 

 

While Ecclestone was praiseworthy of Hamilton himself for using his platform and global notoriety to push for change, saying ‘he's doing a great job and it's people like that - easily recognisable - that people listen to’, he went on to say he didn’t believe it would have the desired effect in F1, before adding ‘in lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are’.

His comments quickly drew the ire from F1 itself, which sought to distance itself from Ecclestone by issuing a statement on Friday evening.

Going on to reference the incidents of ‘blackface’ – aimed at Hamilton - in 2008 during a testing session in Spain, Ecclestone says he was unaware the Briton was so offended at the time.

However, Hamilton says Ecclestone, 89, is symptomatic of the issues facing the sport, adding his comments demonstrate why not enough has been done to address the racial abuse he has suffered.

Speaking on Instagram Stories, Hamilton begins by saying ‘Damn, I just don’t even know where to start on this one’ before following up with an image of the original interview. He goes on to say:

“So sad and disappointing to read these comments

“Bernie is out of the sport and a different generation but this is exactly what is wrong – ignorant and uneducated comments which show us how far we as a society need to go before real equality can happen.

“It makes complete sense to me now that nothing was said or done to make our sport more diverse or to address the racial abuse I received throughout my career.

“If someone who has run the sport for decades has such a lack of understanding of the deep rooted issues we as black people deal with every day, how can we expect all the people who work under him to understand. It starts at the top.

“Now the time has come for change. I will not stop pushing to create an inclusive future for our sport with equal opportunity for all. To create a world that provides equal opportunity for minorities. I will continue to use my voice to represent those that don’t have one, and to speak for those who are underrepresented to provide an opportunity to have a chance in our sport.

He concludes with images of the aforementioned ‘blackface’ spectators, adding ‘I remember this like it was yesterday. The damage things like this do to people is unacceptable’.