Will Next Season See The First Black F1 Driver?

November 17th, 2006 by William

hamilton.jpg
Lews Hamilton–click to go to his fan site.
Formula One racing is an incredibly diverse sport. In the 2006 season there were races held in 16 different countries with drivers hailing from 13 different countries and spanning five different continents. Despite the fact that in its 56 year history F1 has been a veritable UN, there has yet to be a Black driver to race in the prestigious series. That may all change next season when the McLaren Mercedes team announces its driver lineup for 2007.

Lewis Hamilton is poised to become the first Black Formula One driver in the history of Grand Prix racing. The 21 year old Brit just wrapped up a spectacular season in GP2 (an F1 feeder series) where he won the drivers championship; only weeks later he ran a few days of testing in the 2006 F1 car at the Silverstone circuit in England. Even in the early stages of testing young Hamilton looked very promising, and in all likelihood he will get a shot at driving for the McLaren-Mercedes team in 2007.

So what does this mean for the sport of F1? Will Hamilton become the Tiger Woods of grand prix racing? While this is a tremendous accomplishment for Lewis, the world of F1 is a far cry from the PGA where as recently as 1990 some of the tour courses wouldn’t admit Black members. Even though there haven’t been any Black drivers in Formula One up to this point, the F1 crowd is used to different languages, cultures and colors. It would shock me if there was any type of backlash to his being there, like there was in the early days of Tiger. Don’t get me wrong, it is great for the sport of F1, the highest level of motor racing there is, to have a prominent Black face in the mix; but I don’t think Hamilton’s arrival will be as prolific as some members of the media have predicted.
bill-lester.jpg
Pic of Bill Lester courtesy of his BillLester.com
Interestingly 2006 might mark the end of the line for another prominent Black driver and NASCAR’s only Black driver, Bill Lester. Lester, who is from my hometown of Oakland, CA, has been driving in the Craftsman Truck series for another NASCAR minority, Toyota. He has been chasing every driver’s dream of running a full season in the premier Nextel Cup series. At 45 years old Lester is no spring chicken in the racing world, but he still successfully competed in two Nextel Cup events this year making him the first African American to do so in 20 years. After failing to qualify for what would have been his third start this season, Lester’s sponsorship hopes for next season are looking a bit slim. He will most likely continue running in the Craftsman Truck series but at this point his future is unknown.

I sincerely wish the best of luck to both Lewis Hamilton and Bill Lester. As a staunch supporter of diversity in all sports I think their achievements should be commended.

-Bill Mertz

, , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

About Automotive Blogger



Automotive Blogger Authors(s)
    » Will-Thompson

Automotive Channel Posts

  • Celebrities at the Indy 500
    After Dario Franchitti won the rain-delayed-then-cancelled Indy 500 yesterday, photos of a very wet and very happy Ashley Judd celebrating her husband's win started popping up all over the internet. [...]
  • Followup to the Smokey Yunick Fiero
    A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the existence, or lack thereof, of Smokey Yunick's famed adiabatic-engined Fiero. As it turns out, I got an email last night from a man named Tony Allers, who [...]
  • A funny
    Found on NASCAR.com last year sometime... Where To Live After Retirement Guide: You can live in Phoenix where ... 1. You are willing to park three blocks away because you found shade. 2. [...]
  • VW hyping up diesel sales
    Volkswagen of America is running a contest to find the oldest and highest-mileage diesel-powered VWs still running on their original engines. The competition is more than a publicity stunt. It has [...]
  • Best car commercials of the past few years
    As a car guy, car commercials tend to catch my eye. Well, sometimes they do. Sometimes a commercial is made and released into the wild that makes everyone notice, not just car guys. The following [...]
  • 800 HP, 25 MPG and zero fossil fuels in a 65 Impala SS
    I just saw a re-run of MTV's Pimp My Ride. Let me tell you, I'm pretty impressed. I used to love this show, but then I got a little tired of these guys seeing how many monitors they could fit in a [...]
  • Ford giving away a Taurus and Taurus X on Extreme Makeover
    Ford is giving away a 2008 Taurus and a 2008 Taurus X on ABC's Extreme Makeover tomorrow night. If those cars look familiar, you've been paying attention to Ford for the past couple [...]
  • AutomotiveBlogger.net's Car Star Award for May 13th-19th 2007
    I'm skipping the weekly links this week because I found a Car Star for this week that is so awesome that it deserves a post all its own. (click to go to the full gallery of pics) I found this [...]
  • Cars.com reports an increase in fuel-efficient vehicle searches
    If Cars.com is any indicator, Americans are looking more closely at fuel-efficient vehicles. This really isn't an incredible surprise, but it seems to the casual observer that the tipping point [...]
  • Department of the obvious reports hybrid vehicle sales increasing
    According to recently released sales data from The R.L. Polk Co., 1.5M alternative fuel autos were sold throughout the country last year, or 50% more than forecast in the period. In Colorado, [...]

Hot Off The Press

  • Tahlequah's Red Fern Festival Celebrates Book & Coon Hunting
    Anyone familiar with the classic book Where the Red Fern Grows probably remembers Tahlequah, Oklahoma is where Billy Colman travelled to get his two redbone coonhound pups, Old Dan and Little Ann. [...]
  • MGS4 CONFIRMED for 360... maybe...
    So here's the deal -- Ron Workman, aka "Greybush" over at one of our favorite sites, Destructoid, is claiming that Metal Gear Solid 4 is no longer a PS3 exclusive, and is now headed towards the [...]
  • Memorial Day Fashion
    Looking for the perfect something for the Memorial Day picnics, beach outings, or backyard BBQs? (Stylefix Sheryl's got her party on, sipping mojitos on the back deck overlooking the Intracoastal [...]
  • Learn how to plan the perfect GLBT wedding
    Tenafly, NJ-- RainbowWeddingNetwork.com (RWN) will produce the "Same Love, Same Rights"® GLBT Wedding and Family Expo at the Clinton Inn Hotel on August 12, 2007 from noon to 5pm. RWN was created in [...]
  • Man Feed Rabbit To Snake. School Can't Spell.
    After reading Kay Day's post on Current Events Watch I was sifting through some of the news reports on the incident. I came to this statement on a video produced by a local news station. It is as [...]
  • Freema is Not Leaving Doctor Who
    Due to several factors, among them being my trip to BayCon this weekend, my review of the last remaining episode of series two will be delayed until next week. Sorry. In its place, I would like [...]
  • Cast and Crew Respond on Message Board
    I've actually been avoiding the Message Board over on the Official Site lately, more because I just don't have the kind of time it would take to really take to read through all of the comments. [...]
  • 3 Ways to Deal With A Rude Talker
    I posted a few days ago how my husband and I got into an argument started mostly by his tone of voice. If you have a spouse that starts a conversation rudely or loudly, maybe these three tips can [...]
  • Happy Memorial Day, everyone!
    I hope everyone is enjoying their relaxing holiday weekend. I won't be posting any "Desperate Housewives" goodness today, in observance of the holiday. I'm instead going to be spending the day [...]
  • Two Simple Life Sneak Peaks
    E! has released two new simple life sneak peaks. However, they don't allow you to move the script to another website. Hence why I am just posting the links. I am eager to see the permanent [...]