Five-time Formula One Champion Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal about his current eco-friendly bent. Whether he’s going vegan or encouraging fans to treat the world with respect, Hamilton is using his platform for a more activist cause. And reigning two-time Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne is challenging him to put those feelings into action by testing out a Formula E car.
Recently, Hamilton took to his Instagram story to discuss his feelings on climate change and more eco-friendly attitudes. The post, which was deleted after 24 hours as per Instagram story rules, read in part as follows:
It’s taken me 32 years to understand the impact I am having on the world and I’m figuring out daily what I can do to play a better part[...] I’m striving to do better. I urge you, to do some research, find the compassion I know you have within you to recognize what you are contributing to in terms of what you eat which keeps the meat and dairy industry flourishing and therefore deforestation, animal cruelty, our seas and climate decaying on a daily basis.
Vergne saw an opportunity to expand the discussion as Formula E testing commenced, highlighting the fact that there are ways to continue racing that also diminish the negative impact a driver has on the world. Vergne told Autosport:
To be honest with you not even two years ago I would have disagreed with what he said. But today I have a greater awareness thanks to people like him, thanks to many other athletes in the world that are basically saying the same thing.
That’s why I think it will be a logical step for him to come in Formula E, to do a lot more than just being a racing driver.
Vergne goes on to cite the importance of inspiring younger generations by letting them know there’s a series out there that can satisfy both their desire for speed and their concern for the environment around them.
Fans have been pretty tough on Hamilton ever since his Instagram story made its way to Twitter. Hamilton has been progressively making greener life choices: going vegan, selling his personal jet. Still, the driver has been accused of being a hypocrite—he’s encouraging people to go vegan but owns multiple expensive cars and flies private jets to races where he drives a gasoline-powered car for a living.
Vergne’s suggestion is a politer way of asking Hamilton to put his money where his mouth is and test the waters in a motorsport series that is actively aiming to reduce its environmental impact. And now that Mercedes is expanding its motorsport campaign to Formula E this season, it would be pretty easy for Hamilton to try out the car sometime. Merc’s motorsport boss Toto Wolff has already told Hamilton he’d let him get behind the wheel of the FE car any time he’d like.
I’m not here to critique Hamilton’s ideologies or his implementation of them, but if he’s seriously feeling some climate guilt and needs a change of scenery, FE is a pretty obvious way to go. The series is still working out some of its growing pains, but technology is becoming more sophisticated every season and has been proving to be a viable, competitive motorsport product. A big name like Hamilton testing the waters would definitely make waves in the ICE-only mindset that many motorsport fans still cling to.
What Hamilton does in his future remains to be seen—but it sounds like he’ll always have a shot waiting for him in FE.