Hamilton says he'd welcome new F1 team but wants it to improve diversity
LOSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton said Friday he’d welcome an 11th team joining the Formula One grid but argued for stricter criteria on improving diversity in the sport, after Andretti Global passed the first hurdle of a complex process.
Hamilton's openness to having a new two-car team contrasts with the attitude of most of F1's team principals, who have concerns about getting a smaller share of the revenue.
Hamilton, who is the only Black driver in F1, said he did not specifically support Michael Andretti's team but the idea of an 11th team more generally, especially if it would make the F1 grid or ownership more diverse.
“I think from a driver’s perspective, it’s exciting to potentially see more cars, and then the idea of an 11th team, you know, we have over 2,000 people in our team, so that’s a huge amount of jobs. But we have to make sure that the criteria, which is quite strict, is really respected,” he said. “I feel like we need to amend the criteria actually, and make sure that there’s an opportunity for real impact, really making sure that if there is a new team, they have to be diverse. They have to perhaps create an opportunity for a female driver to come through and it has to be diverse from the top."
Hamilton added he has “100% faith” in Stefano Domenicali, who is the F1 president and chief executive.
“I know that he will make the right decision moving forward,” he said.
The sport's governing body, the FIA, said Monday that Andretti Global, which is partnering with General Motors brand Cadillac, had met its criteria to join F1. It now requires approval from F1 commercial rights holder Liberty Media, a process likely to rest on proving it would add value to the sport.
One of the unsuccessful applicants to enter a new team, New Zealand-based Rodin, said last month it “committed to reserving one seat for a female driver” if it entered F1 and would have “no hesitation” hiring Jamie Chadwick, the three-time champion of the now-defunct, all-female W Series.
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