Dubai: Lewis Hamilton, now one shy of Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula One world titles, has one long cherished dream - the Briton wants his sport to open up for the grassroots like other mainstream sport like football or tennis. He will be the headline act at the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2019, which will bring the curtains down on the season on December 1 (Sunday).
“I want to get involved in working with the FIA and Formula 1, because they can do more to give back I’d say. It doesn’t need to be as expensive. I want to get it opened up because when you look at football, at tennis, there’s grassroots,” the world champion said during an appearance at the Graham Norton show.
Opening up about his meteoric rise from the humble background of Stevenage, Hamilton said it was thanks to the sacrifice and hardship of his father due to which he could break though through the ranks - notwithstanding the prodigious talent he showed since his karting days.
Though he was inducted into the McLaren ‘family’ at an early age, it was his father who helped young Lewis first get his feet on the racing ladder.
“My dad spent something like £20,000 and remortgaged the house several times in the first years,” said the champion. “But today it’s just got so expensive,” he added. “There are very few working-class families on their way up. It’s all wealthy families.
“I’ve got a friend of mine who was nearly in Formula 1 and he got leapfrogged by a wealthy kid, and then his opportunity was gone. So I want to somehow get it back to basics.
“If my dad hadn’t done the work he did and if I didn’t get signed when I was thirteen by Ron Dennis then I wouldn’t be sitting in front of you today, I’d be doing something different,” he told Norton.
With the countdown for the season finale having started at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, hundreds of tonnes of freight and equipment has already started arriving at track.
Arriving by sea and air, more than 70 forklift trucks are busy ferrying the F4, F2 and F1 teams’ equipment, with more than 400 logistics specialists as well as the teams’ technical staff working around the clock in the main and Support Pit Lanes to prepare for the showpiece.
The Yas Marina Circuit, meanwhile, announced it is all set to welcome 60,000 motorsport enthusiasts, 70 per cent of whom all from all across the globe in addition to hundreds of team officials, VIP guests, celebrities and international media.
An official from the circuit said that paint teams are working around the clock to apply a new coat of paint on the 5.5-kilometer track, using 4,500 liters of Yas Blue paint, 720 liters of ivory paint, 1,440 liters of red paint and 1,440 liters of white paint.
The official added that special attention is being paid to the 88.4 acres of green spaces, with 2.52 acres of seasonal flowers and ornamental plants being planted by horticulture and farm teams. The horticulture team cultivates over 1,750 different plant varieties along with gardening approximately 886 species of palm trees and 529 pots, which will bring a gorgeous look of natural colours and aromas to the circuit.
- With inputs from agencies