“Formula 1 has become a club for billionaire kids”– Lewis Hamilton on the increasing number of billionaire kids making it to the top.
Lewis Hamilton is among the rare drivers of the 21st centuries who came from a working-class background and made it to the top. Concrete support by McLaren in his youth days made him reach the top-flight of motorsports.
However, seeing the current trends, Hamilton is displeased with new drivers making into Formula 1 with the assistance of their familial wealth, which is certainly turning the sport even more exclusive.
“Growing up in a normal working-class family, I could never be here,” Hamilton told the Spanish newspaper AS about his background. “The guys you fight against have so much more money.”
In the current grid, Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi and Nikita Mazepin have been accused of making their way into F1 with their familial wealth. It caused an uproar when last year’s F2 runner up Callum Ilott couldn’t make the cut in F1, as Mazepin grabbed one of three rookie seats available.
And on the other hand, drivers procuring enormous sponsorships to gain a seat is not an alien idea; Sergio Perez and former Haas driver Romain Grosjean are big examples of it.
We need to make F1 more accessible.
Even if one doesn’t make it in F1 directly by “buying a seat”, one still has to be from a well off family to sustain their way till F1. It’s an expensive sport, and it requires enormous investment to graduate their way into F1.
And it wouldn’t be a wrong estimate that most current F1 grid drivers were already from privileged households. Thus, Hamilton thinks that more efforts need to be made to make it more accessible.
“Formula 1 has become a club for billionaire kids. We need to work on changing that so it becomes more accessible to everyone.”