By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief
With six Formula One World Championships to his name, British race car driver, Lewis Hamilton, is one of this century’s greatest athletes. Driving for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, which has environmental stewardship at its core, Hamilton and his engineers are determined to harness the technology utilized in their F1 driving experience to influence sustainability in the road cars of our future. Mercedes most recently debuted the fully electric, very smart and very sexy Mercedes Benz Vision EQS to the world, and is currently testing Mercedes-AMG’s One, to put a version of their F1 engine into a road car.
Sustainability is not a new conversation for Hamilton who took the first Formula One hybrid win in 2009 with his Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, and now races with an advanced engine capacity of more than 50% brake thermal efficiency (meaning more power is used than wasted). In Formula One, a sport known for its fast cars, fast drivers and fast women, he stands as a shining ambassador for a new world, consistently speaking out on global issues that matter and using his platform to make a difference. “Recently I’ve been making many changes in my life to reduce my impact on the environment. The first step in this journey was to understand my personal impact on the planet so I could improve it. Since then I have offset my carbon footprint from my Formula One career dating back to 2007. I want to use my position as a racing driver to enforce permanent and positive change,” he says. Putting his money where his mouth is, he has turned to a plant-based diet, sold his private jet and reduced his fleet of personal cars.
Beyond Formula One, Hamilton recently announced founding his own race team, X44 (named after his F1 racing number), to compete in the exhilarating, electric,off-road series, Extreme E. Debuting in 2021, Extreme E will race in five remote locations dramatically affected by climate change - the arctic, desert, rainforest, glacier, and coastal - to raise awareness of global warming. Hamilton says, “Extreme E is an exciting new sustainability initiative, and this is a great opportunity to be involved from the outset as a team founder. Of course, my ambitions and commitments with Mercedes in Formula One mean that I won’t be operationally involved in X44, but I’m excited to play a different role in this new series, one that brings my vision for a more sustainable and equal world to life.”
PC: Extreme E
Hamilton is authentic, committed as much to climate change, veganism and racial equality as he is to being an F1 World Champion. A pioneer who inspires a global audience with weekly motivational posts on his social media, he has gained a following beyond his phenomenal love of motor racing and performance at the track. An avid lover of fashion and noted style icon, he aligns with brands with like-minded values, such as Tommy Hilfiger, “Over the last five seasons I have loved working with Tommy Hilfiger to push boundaries, take creative risks, and capture my personal sense of style in our designs. Our TommyXLewis collection embodies everything we stand for - from authentic self-expression to inclusivity and sustainability,” he says. Additionally he has continued his support of sustainable fashion through Puma’s partnership with First Mile Impact, a company that utilizes discarded plastic bottles and turns waste into clothing and footwear.
As a philanthropist, Hamilton endorses charitable organizations committed to sustainability initiatives. This year he supported the World Wildlife Fund UK in their #ActForTheAmazon campaign, to raise awareness of the deliberate burning of rainforests by corporations focused on deforestation for profit. He also visited Wires Wildlife Rescue in Australia in March while there for the Melbourne Grand Prix, to highlight the organization’s wildlife rescue efforts during 2019’s horrific Australian wildfires.
With the physical demands that come with being a racing driver, Hamilton promotes being vegan as helping him fine-tune his physique. Health and wellness propel him, not just from his own personal standpoint, but in an effort to inspire others to make better choices, “I listen to my body, fuel it to the best of my knowledge. This year I’ve managed to push further and be fitter and stronger than the years before, which I am so happy about. Health is wealth!”
As a racecar driver of color, Hamilton has recently utilized his platform to call for racial equality amid growing unrest in the U.S. Seen kneeling before races sporting a Black Lives Matter logo on his helmet or Breonna Tayler tee over his overalls, Hamilton is proud to take a stand against systemic racism and inequality, “It doesn’t matter if you stand or kneel, but we should be showing the world that F1 is united in its commitment to equality and inclusivity,” he said.
As Hamilton continues his domination over the pioneering world of technology in Formula One racing, he is a sensitive maverick in-tune with the world’s challenges and determined to use his platform for change, “Everyday I see something upsetting happening; people being abused, people suffering, volcanoes erupting, explosions, oceans and forests being destroyed. 2020 is such a heavy year. But it gives me hope seeing people come together, fighting for justice, people cleaning up oceans and just generally doing more for our planet and the people in it.”
Photography courtesy of Peter J. Fox