Anthony Hamilton has spoken out about the current state of motorsport and says that he fears it will become a millionaires-only playground unless something is done to put in place a proper structure for developing young drivers from diverse backgrounds.
"Junior motorsport is still fragmented and expensive and that alone doesn’t encourage those with a dream of Formula One to enter the sport, or for the genuine cream to rise to the top," said Hamilton, who oversaw his son Lewis' early career in motor racing.
"Formula One could end up with the majority of drivers paying for their drives, rather than earning them through being a junior champion," he told The Independent newspaper.
"In our day we just worked hard with what we had and were blessed to have been spotted by Ron Dennis and Mercedes but that isn’t enough any more.
"At junior level there are many drivers who win championships but don’t have the funds or backing to move up to Formula One.
"There are so many junior series that young drivers don’t really know which is the best path to take.
"It is about time that a career path structure was put in place to make sure that drivers who are proven winners are rewarded with a guaranteed route into Formula One."
In particular, Hamilton said he was concerned that promising drivers from working class background like Lewis were being squeezed out of the sport, where even starting karting can require a budget of one million pounds over the course of several years to get a driver established.
"Getting to the top shouldn’t be about those who can afford it, but about those who work hard and are the best," he said.
"If costs continue to escalate at the junior level, and junior series remain financially unregulated, then I think Lewis will be the last of his generation."