Getting A Grip F1 sat down with Aston Martin's Matt Bishop to talk about his life as an openly gay man in motorsport and exploring how We Race As One

“Love is Love, Kindness is Everything and really there should be no reason why anyone in the world doesn’t feel  comfortable and willing to get behind those two slogans. Love is Love and Kindness is Everything.”

That is the message Matt Bishop, Aston Martin F1’s current Communications Chief and openly gay man working in Motorsport, wanted to spread when Getting A Grip F1 podcast sat down and spoke to him.

Before his role with Aston Martin F1 and before he published his latest book The Boy Made The Difference, Bishop spent time with McLaren Formula 1 team, before moving onto involvement within the senior leadership of the W Series in 2018.

Listen to Getting A Grip F1’s chat with Matt Bishop in full.

Prior to that, he had been a journalist and editor within the ranks of acclaimed publications like Autosport.

For 2021, Matt was onboarded by the newly rebranded Aston Martin Cognizant Formula 1 Team as their Chief Communications Officer.

Matt is also a proud ambassador for Racing Pride, a motorsport organization formed in 2019 that aims to promote inclusivity of LGBT persons within the sport and beyond.

Who is Matt Bishop

Speaking on his career within Motorsport, which began 25 years ago, Matt spoke about his experience entering the sport as a journalist and an editor and how his experiences were shaped by being an openly gay man.

“I think the world was a different place in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance. Nobody would have used the term LGBTQ+, they might have said Lesbian and Gay, the first two letters of that well-known abbreviation now,” he told Getting A Grip F1.

Upon entering motorsport Matt realised within the heavily male and heterosexual sport, a lot of other gay men remained closeted.

Not Matt. He made the decision to enter as a proud and openly gay man.

“I came along and I thought I am not going to do that, I am going to come out.”

“People gossiping behind my back, which I had been used to from all my life since I was sexually mature in my teens and I think all LGBTQ+ people recognise that.”

Through his early career Matt recalls only one person being openly homophobic to him in clear view of the paddock.

An unnamed driver – who is no longer connected to the sport – would use homophobic slurs directed at Matt.

“I objected to it and others objected to it too,” he said.

“And he brought more discourtesy to himself than to me by doing that”

We Race As One – Bishop ‘chuffed’ at shirt worn by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and F1 driver Mick Schumacher

Before the first race in Bahrain last month, Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and current F1 driveer Mick Schumacher donned rainbow coloured T-Shirts with a number of different slogans on them. They read:

  • Science is Real
  • Black Lives Matter
  • No Human is Illegal
  • Love is Love
  • Women’s Rights are Human Rights
  • Kindness is Everything

Bishop said it was a powerful movement that could mean so much to people.

“I am a gay man, I arrived in Formula 1 25 years ago,” he told Getting A Grip F1.

“I was the only out gay guy in the sport at that time, I am not now, there are a few of us actually a very few.

“I suppose I always thought it was possible and desirable and positive to highlight LGBTQ+ issues in sport and alongside other diversity initiatives.”

What is Racing Pride?

Even through these issues Matt persisted and has worked at trying to make the sport more inclusive for other LGBTQ+ persons who are already involved and looking to become involved in Motorsport.

One way he has done this is by becoming involved as a Racing Pride ambassador.

Racing Pride is an organisation that was set up in 2019 to advance the interests of LGBTQ+ interests in motorsport. An endeavour that Matt says is ‘still 100 per cent necessary in 2021’.

One of the goals of Racing Pride is to support up and coming Karters, who are at the age where they may be struggling or coming to terms with their own sexuality.

Matt said people could work on not making assumptions about up-and-coming karters, and to teach both young drivers and team members not to use homophobic slurs, regardless of the context in which they are used or how casual the intent behind them was.

“They have and still do encounter prejudice or censure or mickie taking or name calling,” he said.

“I suppose one of the things that we and racing pride want to do is educate the whole of the motorracing industry.”

“A point about coming out is that you don’t just come out once, you come out again and again and again and again.”

“My advice is to just bear it in mind if it is good enough for Damon Hill, World Champion, Graham Hill’s son, straight man, Father of 4, married to a woman to go on the record to say positive things about then it is probably ‘worth’ your considering as well.”

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