The 2020 sport season has been nothing short of eventful, especially when looking at Formula One. After coming to a sudden halt in March after a member of the McLaren team tested positive for Covid-19 mere hours before the first practice of the Australian Grand Prix, many feared the season would not even happen.
“When we left Australia, we were obviously entering into a massive unknown, and none of us knew where we would go or what was needed to be done,” said Ross Brawn, managing director of motorsport for Formula 1. Luckily for petrolheads around the world the season continued, with the first four races either postponed or cancelled. When the season did continue, the world’s political sphere had changed completely. The events that lead to the death of George Floyd thrust sports people from around the world into the limelight, with all eyes on how they would react to calls for “Taking the Knee”. One driver people had their eyes on was eventual world champion, Lewis Hamilton.
The 2020 British Sports Personality of the Year was quick to join the Black Lives Matter movement and called for “Justice for Breonna Taylor” on numerous occasions. 14 of the 20 drivers who took part in the season opening race in Austria, took part in the ongoing, worldwide protest against police brutality and global systemic racism, Taking the Knee before the race. Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat and Antonio Giovinazzi elected to stand instead, while each wearing black t-shirts that read, “End Racism”.
“I don’t want it to be a case of people feeling forced,” Hamilton explained post-race, “I want people to be excited to be a part of the change”.
Hamilton won the Driver’s Championship with three races to go, missing one of those after testing positive for Covid-19. Mercedes took home the Constructors’ Championship, beating out Red Bull by 573 points to 319.
There is still a lot that needs to be done to rid the world of racism and sportsmen and women around the world play a tremendous role in enlightening young sport fans and opening their eyes to a world where racism has no place.