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Lewis Hamilton says Formula One is ‘booming’ in the United States

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says F1 is growing in the United States (PA)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says F1 is growing in the United States (PA)

Sir Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1 is “booming” in the United States thanks to Netflix’s Drive to Survive series.

Formula 1 heads to Florida for the first time on Sunday for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix at the International Autodrome.

Hamilton told Good Morning America: “It’s a bit nerve-racking because I think it’s going to be a huge event for us.

“We obviously had the race in Austin, Texas, which has always been amazing. The first race I had out here was Indianapolis in 2007.

“But now, with Netflix Drive to Survive series growing, we have two Grand Prix in the States and we have another one in Las Vegas next year. It’s going to be huge.”

When asked if Formula 1 had cracked the US market, Hamilton said: “I think so, yes.

“I’ve been coming out here for a long time, but never understood why people weren’t into Formula 1.

“Everyone knew Nascar and obviously there are such huge sporting fans out here and this Netflix show, particularly through the pandemic, has just brought massive awareness to the sport and now it’s booming.”

Hamilton spoke about his campaign to help make motorsport become more diverse and explained why he launched the Mission 44 Foundation.

“It’s been generally quite a lonely journey. It’s been me and my family. We’re the only black family (in Formula 1),” he said.

“I’ve been racing 29 years. I’m 37 now. But I’ve been professional for 16 years. I’ve most often been the only person of colour in the room and when I asked the question there was no great feedback or answer to that.

“So I put together the Hamilton Commission, because it starts with education and understanding.”

Hamilton said there were more than 40,000 jobs within Formula 1 and that only one per cent were occupied by people from black backgrounds.

“There are real systemic issues within the education system as well,” he said. “So we’ve now started Mission 44, which I’ve funded myself, to try and create more representation and support and empowerment for these young, underserved groups.

“For me, there’s only 20 Formula 1 drivers, so there’s not a huge way of accessing that, but there’s 40,000 jobs.

“Engineers, mechanics, marketing, there are so many incredible jobs in the background.

“Just in my team for example, two years ago, 2000 people and only three per cent diversity.

“So now we’re working on tackling those challenges and improving that.”

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