I made the mistake of reading every single reply to F1’s tweet announcing the #WeRaceAsOne initiative, and I am frankly disgusted by some so-called F1 ‘fans’.
It had not even been properly announced over what the initiative involved other than inclusivity and equality and people jumped on claiming “politics doesn’t belong in sport or F1” and I very much hope this is just a vocal minority.
Motorsport is one of the richest, white, male-dominated sports around, and not just in terms of drivers. This needed systematic change must be improved from the grassroots level and up.
F1 can do more; it seemingly may start doing more. It does race in a number of places with questionable at best human rights towards certain groups, but that is not an excuse to immediately blast something where it is actually trying to improve.
F1 has not specified yet how its #WeRaceAsOne initiative will work in detail. There was not a specific mention of LGBTQ+ people in the announcement, which it address if it is to tackle inclusivity. But the initiative has to happen. Skin colour, race, religion, disability, sexuality and gender identity should not and must not be a barrier to motorsport for anyone who wants to be a driver, engineering, media, mechanic or anything else within it.
Last June we at F1StatBlog supported Racing Pride and added the rainbow to our website and social platforms. Initially, the logos were meant to change back to normal at the end of June but, instead, we decided to keep them.
People of all walks of life, every gender, every race, every background need to feel safe and included within motorsport, and some do not. Even if you may not see that sort of behaviour in and around a paddock, that is not to say that it is not there. In the US, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had a noose placed in his garage. That behaviour is just utterly disgusting. I hope whoever put it there is found and severely punished.
If you truly think motorsport just needs to stick to racing and avoid politics, read some of the comments to F1’s tweets about the initiative, read the comments to Hamilton when he protested at Hyde Park, read the comments when McLaren unveiled the rainbow on their halo, read the comments when the teams tweeted about #WeRaceAsOne, read the comments on F1 journalist Scott Mitchell’s tweet when he mentioned Hamilton and Black Lives Matter, read the comments on anything from Bubba Wallace, read the comments from literally any news organisation on any story even remotely to do with equality or inclusivity.
There is a problem.
We must solve it.
Black Lives Matter.
LGBTQ+ people matter.
F1 is finally trying to do something that may help countless people in years to come – something it arguably should have addressed sooner. Let it. If you have a problem with initiatives aimed at getting more people involved in motorsport, you are the problem.
We must speak up, we must stand against the hatred and inequality, we must love one another.
And as six-time Hamilton stated: “You may not be racist in your silence but we need you to be anti-racist.” F1 is not the only area with a problem, but a series with the substantial reach F1 has can make a difference.
(Also absolutely do not read the comments on any of the things I mentioned, you will lose faith in humanity.)