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Nissan Formula E driver Oliver Rowland believes F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton could do more to help young drivers trying to get into motorsport by becoming personally involved.
Last year, Hamilton revealed his concerns about how expensive F2, F3 and karting are during an appearance on the Graham Norton Show.
Speaking as a guest on the Inside Electric podcast, Rowland, who owns a karting team, shared his frustration that high-profile drivers such as Hamilton fail to get directly involved to help address the problem.
“I know first-hand how much it costs to run a karting team,” Rowland said. “People say you should get rid of teams because they bring out more costs. But then at the same time, as a team we provide a package for the driver to develop much quicker than if he was on his own. Especially in Britain we have really good grassroots karting and they tend to get really good really quickly. So it’s very difficult. I myself sponsor, or I’ve helped pay for, a couple of drivers or I’ve helped in certain ways that I can.”
Rowland has been competing in Formula E since 2018 after failing to land a seat in F1.
“I’m not on the same level as the top F1 guys, but I put my hand in my pocket to help people who I think deserve it and probably couldn’t go to the next level without that help,” he explained. “I notice that the people saying it in the press and things like that, maybe they could do the same.
“It pisses me off a little bit sometimes when I hear people complaining about it, but then actually they’re not really doing much themselves. For example, Lewis said a couple of months ago that people need motorsport grassroots and all this sort of stuff.
“Even if he was to put his name against three or four drivers that were doing exceptionally well, that would help draw in sponsorship for them. And that wouldn’t actually cost him anything. But it would just be a way for them to then generate a bit of sponsorship for themselves.
“Just to have him backing somebody, he could go to sponsors, he could even go to meetings with them. He’d generate a hundred thousand karting budget very quickly. Whereas without him it’s really difficult for anybody to get anything.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s vegan burger chain Neat Burger has partnered with Deliveroo to deliver free vegan meals to NHS workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.