The fans showed up to the 2008 Grand Prix in blackface while wearing shirts that read ‘Hamilton’s Family. ‘The now seven-time F1 champ looks back on that day with great sadness. And Hamilton says he didn’t do or say anything about it as he “didn’t have anyone”.
In an interview with the WSJ Magazine, Hamilton recalled: “I remember the pain that I felt that day, but I didn’t say anything about it; I didn’t have anyone. “No one said anything. “I saw people continuing in my industry and staying quiet.”
The lack of diversity in F1 is an issue Hamilton feels passionately about. So much so he has sought to find answers as to why there’s a lack of black people taking part in the sport. Hamilton set up and funded his own investigation after looking at the end-of-season F1 team photos, where he says he was reminded about the lack of diversity. He said: “Most people know my journey into F1 and my experience being the first Formula One driver of colour.
“Being in motorsport, I often looked around me and wondered why I was one of the very few people of colour, and it is not just about drivers but job opportunities for mechanics, engineers, marketing and accounting. “As I grew more successful, I thought that me being at the front would open more doors to black talent, but at the end of 2019, I was in Abu Dhabi and I was looking at team photos and it was a stark reminder as I zoomed in on those pictures at how little progress had been made in the sport into being more inclusive.
“That’s when I knew that I needed to do more and where the idea for the Hamilton Commission came from, however, with the extensive research from the team, we realised it is not just the motorsport industry that needs to change.
I remember the pain that I felt that day [Spain 2008], but I didn’t say anything about it; I didn’t have anyone.
“We found there are still systemic issues facing young black people at all levels of the education system that need to be addressed. “So we have developed 10 final recommendations to address the issue of diversity in UK motorsport. “From this report, I hope we can make long-lasting meaningful progress. We have to ensure that these findings do not go ignored.”