Lewis Hamilton discusses his experience with race at Formula 1
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Toto Wolff has said that all of the racist abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton has to end. The discussion in build-up to the British Grand Prix has been dominated by racist comments that came to light from former World Champion Nelson Piquet about the Mercedes driver.
Hamilton has faced racial abuse throughout his career and is the only black driver to ever race within Formula One. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has now called for all abuse of the seven-time World Champion to end. Speaking to Channel 4 ahead of qualifying at Silverstone Wolff said:
“I think that Louis has had it [racist abuse] all his life. The adversity that he faced, sometimes subtle, sometimes in the face. I believe that it’s come to a point where all of it needs to end. It’s so public and it’s people that are that have been well respected in the sport.”
However Wolff did take some heart from the reaction to Piquet’s comments with Hamilton receiving an outpouring of support from the sport’s fans and his fellow drivers.
“It just confirms that we are on the right path to stopping this with a robust action of Formula One with the condemning in the media and with the drivers supporting Lewis. Now we have momentum and these voices will not be heard anymore.
Mercedes agreed to fund an initiative to increase the representation of people from minority backgrounds in the sport when negotiating Hamilton’s new deal last year. The initiative called Ignite aims to give scholarships to children and students from underrepresented backgrounds to give them a chance to gain an opportunity in the sport.
The team have already contributed £6 million pounds to the programme which aims to give opportunities to young people throughout the motorsport industry, not just at Mercedes.
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