Nissan Formula E driver Oliver Rowland had criticised the six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, saying that he could 'do more' to help young drivers by getting more personally involved.
During an appearance on the Graham Norton show in 2019, Hamilton revealed his concerns about how expensive it is to get into motorsport. He was surprised at how expensive karting and feeder series had become, potentially blocking talented drivers from reaching the top tier.
On the Inside Electric podcast, Rowland revealed how it 'pisses him off' that F1 drivers complain about the feeder series without actually being involved.
Rowland, who runs his own karting team, says that he knows from experience the benefits that a karting team can bring.
“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."
He continued: “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.
“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.”