In light of the social uproar following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Formula One has been thrust into the spotlight by its only Black driver: Lewis Hamilton. The six-time world champion has been increasingly vocal about combating racism in the sport and in the world writ large, and he’s used the Black Lives Matter movement as inspiration for Mercedes-AMG’s new racing livery for the shortened 2020 season. In recent days, F1’s parent company Liberty Media also launched the “We Race as One” initiative and created a task force to “fight against any form of discrimination.”
It’s possible F1 is waking up a bit. But while the steps it is taking to advocate for social change are commendable, the sport needs to look within its own house and also address its own controversial races in places like Azerbaijan and Bahrain.
F1 is a complex thing, and how it makes its money is even more so. At the top, you have the circus owners, the likes of Liberty Media now (formerly Bernie Ecclestone, and a whole other essay could be devoted to him alone.) In the middle, you have the racing teams, and at the bottom, you have racing drivers who are willing to do almost anything to win. At a team level, drivers usually turn a blind eye to many questionable practices that ultimately fund the squads, such as sponsorships from corporate monopolies or less-than-desirable investors.
After all, getting two F1 cars and an
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