Lewis Hamilton met with the British ambassador to Bahrain to discuss concerns about the human rights situation in the country.
Last year, the Formula 1 world champion received letters from a group of human rights organizations alleging that the Bahrain Grand Prix is linked to human rights violations in the country, including torture and sexual assault.
Hamilton said the letters were “heavy weight” when he read them. “It’s the first time I’ve received messages like this during my travels.”
He discussed the human rights situation in Bahrain with various relevant parties, including Britain’s ambassador to the Middle Eastern country, Roderick Drummond.
“Over the past few months, I’ve spent time trying to educate myself because, coming here all these years, I was not aware of all the details of human rights issues.
UK MPs are concerned about race-related human rights violations
“So I spent time talking to legal experts in the field of human rights, I spent time talking to human rights organizations like Amnesty International, and I saw the UK ambassador here in Bahrain and also spoke to Bahraini officials.”
He declined to comment on the outcome of the discussions. “At the moment, the steps I’ve taken have been really confidential and I think that’s the right way to do it. I really don’t want to say too much that it might jeopardize any progress. This is the position we are in right now. But I am definitely committed to helping in whatever way I can.” .
A group of British MPs have written to F1 personalities, including Hamilton and the tournament’s CEO, Stefano Dominicali, urging the sport to investigate any link between race and human rights violations. The race was removed from the F1 calendar 10 years ago after the suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations.
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When asked how Formula One should respond to the allegations, Hamilton said, “It is not in my authority to choose where to go and compete.
Hamilton said he remains “absolutely committed” to Formula 1
“But just to think again about the strong position we find ourselves in, in terms of responsibility and human rights, I don’t think it should be a political issue. We all deserve the same rights.
“As to whether it’s a Formula 1 responsibility, I don’t know if that corresponds to me. But as I said, I’m taking action and I understand it.
“As a sport, we go to many different places and visit many different and beautiful countries and cultures. Of course there are problems all over the world. But I don’t think we should go to these countries and ignore what is happening in those places and get there, have a good time, and then leave “.
Hamilton is heading to his fifteenth season as a Formula One driver after he signed an extension of his contract with Mercedes for only one year, but he played down his concerns about the possibility of leaving the sport at the end of the year, describing his pride in the steps taken by Formula 1 to address social issues through its “WeRaceAsOne” initiative, And he insisted on his preference for a short-term agreement, which “has nothing to do with whether or not we will win the tournament.”
“I don’t give up when the going gets tough,” said Hamilton, who wants to start negotiations with team manager Toto Wolf about his next contract earlier in the year than before.
“I wanted a one-year contract. I told Toto that it would be great for us to work together in the future, [that] We should talk about it well in advance of January, right before the seasonal testing begins.
“I am totally committed to this sport. I think sport is in the best place when it comes to the steps we take. I am really proud of what F1 is doing in terms of realizing that they have a great platform to work for a better world.”
And I love what I do. I got excited, I guess, more than a long time ago. You just said Bono [Peter Bonnington, his race engineer], Just excited to start. We’ll be fighting a big battle one way or another. This is what I have always loved. ”
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