F1 chief Ross Brawn on how the sport plans to improve diversity
"We're looking very strongly at how we can support grassroots racing level"
Last Updated: 11/06/20 2:59pm
Formula 1 can offer greater opportunities to more diverse backgrounds and is actively working on a new initiative for young drivers in karting, says Ross Brawn.
With global anti-racism protests placing strong focus on equality in all areas of society, including sport, Brawn says F1 is working on initiatives to ensure that there is greater racial and gender equality on the path to the top level of motorsport.
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Lewis Hamilton remains the sport's only black driver and has regularly called on F1 authorities to do more to enhance inclusion, with the six-time F1 champion a leading voice on the Black Lives Matter movement in a series of statements over recent days.
Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport who has backed Hamilton's stance, says the sport needs to find ways to give greater opportunities to all.
"The fact is Formula 1 is a very strong meritocracy, it should always be that way," said Brawn to Sky Sports F1. "It should always be the best who win - and we can't force that.
"But we can give greater opportunity to minority and ethnic groups to get involved in motorsport. Not just driving, but engineering and other activities.
"That's where we are with Formula 1."
With F1 already heavily involved with F1 in Schools, the international engineering competition for young students which draws entrants from around the world Brawn says he has been in talks about a new grassroots initiative for karting, the racing discipline where most drivers first race.
"We're looking very strongly at how we can support grassroots racing level," added Brawn.
"I've spent the last weeks and months working with a group to look how we can have a really, really basic karting initiative to get kids involved in karting at a very early stage."
Asked if F1 would be putting money into such initiatives, Brawn replied: "That's what we want to do with karting. That's what we do with Formula 1 in schools.
"We were due to have some W Series this year, unfortunately the pandemic has delayed that. So we are helping with these initiatives."
Sky F1's Karun Chandhok on F1's grassroots plans
"I think Ross hit the nail on the head, it has to come from the grassroots level. I think he's definitely on the right path, in terms of starting at karting and F1 at schools.
"This is a generational shift that's needed. Our kids, hopefully, will grow up in a society, in a world where people are more conscious of it and they're thinking about it, picking up the small signs. I think that's really important."