Ferrari chief John Elkann has insisted the Italians see the fight against racism and discrimination as “important” following Lewis Hamilton’s criticism. Mercedes driver Hamilton took aim at Ferrari earlier this month for a perceived failure to take the initiative in the battle for equality.
Hamilton said “I’ve heard no word of Ferrari saying that they hold themselves accountable, and this is what they’re going to do for their future” after receiving support from Mercedes at the Styrian Grand Prix.
The six-time F1 champion’s comments have now been put to chairman Elkann, who last year held informal talks with Hamilton over a potential cross-paddock move to Ferrari.
And the Italian-American businessman has said Ferrari are on the same side as Hamilton as he leads the fight against racism and discrimination in F1 and beyond.
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“The civil commitment he is carrying out is important and is dear to us,” Elkann told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Elkann, who became chairman of Ferrari in 2018 after health issues forced the late Sergio Marchionne to step down, insisted the Italian company supports equality.
He said that as of July 2 it was important to recognise Ferrari was the first and only company to implement “the Equal Salary certification for equal pay for women and men with the same qualifications and duties”.
Elkann said the decision to do so “testifies our commitment to a work environment [which is] inclusive and respectful of differences”.
Hamilton, who Elkann said he regards as an “exceptional driver”, had in Austria blasted Ferrari and other teams he believed to have been silent on the need for anti-racism action.
“We’ve seen Red Bull’s mechanics take a knee, which I think is great, but as businesses and as teams…if you look at Ferrari who have thousands of people working with them, I’ve heard no word of Ferrari saying that they hold themselves accountable, and this is what they’re going to do for their future,” Hamilton said.
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“And we need the teams to do that. We need Formula 1 and the FIA to be more leading in those scenarios, saying: ‘hey guys, all of us together, everyone needs to pull together and fight for this’.
“I think a lot of people don’t know what the problem is. Some people deny there is a problem.”
Hamilton has also claimed F1 and the FIA have not provided a big enough platform for supporting the fight against racism after launching their own We Race As One programme.
That has prompted chiefs to include time for an anti-racism protest in the schedule for Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
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