Lewis Hamilton’s sole focus will be on winning a seventh world championship when the lights go out on the new Formula One season in Austria, according to former grand prix winner David Coulthard.
Hamilton, 35, has used his huge social media following to become a leading voice in the fight against racism and support for the Black Lives Movement.
He attended a march in London last month, and encouraged his Mercedes team to adopt a black livery this year. The 35-year-old driver also plans to launch the Hamilton Commission in order to diversify the sport.
But Coulthard, a 13-time race winner, believes that Hamilton will not be distracted in his bid to match Michael Schumacher’s record this term.
“Lewis will be asked about his position on racism and his lockdown activities – but once he pulls on the helmet he will go about his business of being a fast driver,” said Coulthard.
“There will be nothing else on Lewis’ mind or any driver when they leave the pit lane, or when they are out on track because of adrenaline and fear focusing the mind. It is a sport that just doesn’t allow for daydreaming.”
Hamilton was critical of the sport and his fellow drivers for staying silent on the topic of racism, moving a number of drivers to speak out on the subject.
The sport will launch the ‘We Race As One’ initiative in Spielberg this weekend, while the ‘End Racism’ message will appear on Hamilton’s car. It is also probable that the drivers will “take a knee” in the minutes before Sunday’s race in a show of solidarity.
Hamilton, F1’s only black driver, wants to see real change in a sport populated predominantly by white men.
“Formula One has always been open to men, women and any colour and nationality, but we maybe have not promoted the fact that we are open,” added Coulthard.
“I don’t believe within the sport there has been active discrimination. But Lewis has got the biggest voice and following his collaboration with the sport’s owners Liberty Media and Mercedes, there is clearly a feeling that Formula One has not being doing enough to promote and encourage.”
The opening race at the Red Bull Ring will kick-start eight rounds in just 10 weekends, with the sport’s bosses hopeful of staging at least 18 grands prix before the year is out.
:: David Coulthard is an advisory board Chairman for the W Series. Watch the W Series Esports League every Thursday at 19:00 BST between now and August 13 across the BBC and W Series’ digital platforms.