March 22, 2018 / 1:33 PM / 9 months ago

Hamilton calls for more diversity in F1

Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - March 22, 2018 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton during the press conference REUTERS/Brandon Malone

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton has called for more diversity in Formula One after highlighting how little he felt had changed since he came into the sport in 2007.

The Briton, a favorite to win Sunday’s season-opening race in Australia, on Thursday posted a video on Instagram panning around the Melbourne paddock from his Mercedes team’s hospitality.

“There is barely any diversity in F1, still nothing’s changed in 11 years I’ve been here,” the 33-year-old told his six million followers.

“Kids, people, there’s so many jobs in this sport of which anybody no matter your ethnicity or background can make it and fit in.”

Hamilton, whose paternal grandparents emigrated to Britain from the Caribbean island of Grenada, grew up in social housing with his father carrying out multiple jobs to make ends meet and pay for his early years in karting.

The sport’s first black world champion is now one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

European-dominated Formula One has no Asian or African drivers at present and only one from Latin America, Mexican Sergio Perez who races for the British-based Force India team.

There has not been a woman driver starting a race since 1976.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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