RACE DEBRIEF

    The Hamilton Commission, the initiative set-up by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton to increase representation of Black people in UK motorsport, has published its first report into the issue, which includes 10 recommendations for change.

    The Mercedes driver – who is the first Black superstar in F1 history – launched the new research partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering last June with the aim of making motorsport “as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in”.

    The catalyst was when Hamilton was looking at an end-of-season photo in 2019 and noticed there was a lack of representation.

    After 10 months of research, the Commission found that wider societal issues were affecting Black students’ opportunities within engineering, as well as specific barriers within the motorsport industry.

    The report added that only 1% of employees in F1 are from Black backgrounds.

    In a bid to drive change, the Commission has identified 10 recommendations it believes will have a positive impact on the motorsport industry and encouraging more young Black students to pursue careers in engineering.

    I am personally committed to ensuring they are put into action. I’m so proud of our work to date, but this is really just the beginning

    Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton: Fight for equality 'weighs heavy on my spirit'

    They include:

    • Asking F1 teams and other motorsport organisations to take the lead in implementing a diversity and inclusion charter for motorsport.
    • Calling for F1 teams and motorsport bodies to broaden access to motorsport by expanding apprenticeship and work experience programmes.
    • Creating a new exclusions innovation fund to develop programmes to reduce the proportion of students from Black backgrounds being excluded from schools.
    • Supporting new approaches to increase the number of Black teachers in STEM projects.
    • Launching scholarship programmes to help Black graduates with degrees in engineering to progress to motorsport roles.

    Click here to read the full report.

    Hamilton said: “Given the right opportunities and support, young people can excel at whatever they put their minds to, but our research shows that many young Black people are being closed out of opportunities within STEM, and having their full potential limited.

    “While I have enjoyed a successful career in motorsport, it’s been a lonely path as one of the few Black individuals within Formula 1 and, after 15 years of waiting for the industry to catch up, I realised I had to take action myself.

    “In order to do that, I needed to understand what was preventing the industry from being as diverse as the world around it. Through the Commission’s research, we can see there are clear meaningful steps the motorsport industry needs to take towards creating a more inclusive environment where diversity can thrive but also that we must tackle the barriers facing Black students that exist throughout their educational journey.

    “Some of these barriers I recognise from my own experiences, but our findings have opened my eyes to just how far reaching these problems are. Now that I’m armed with the Commission’s recommendations, I am personally committed to ensuring they are put into action. I’m so proud of our work to date, but this is really just the beginning.”

    We completely agree that we need to increase diversity across the sport and we have taken action to address this and will be announcing more actions in the coming days

    Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1

    F1 President and CEO of Formula 1 Stefano Domenicali said the sport is committed to change and will take action.

    “The Hamilton Commission has delivered a comprehensive and impressive report that shows the passion Lewis has for this very important issue,” he said.

    READ MORE: Formula 1’s #WeRaceAsOne initiative to continue in 2021 with three new areas of focus

    “We will take the time to read and reflect on all of the findings, but we completely agree that we need to increase diversity across the sport and we have taken action to address this and will be announcing more actions in the coming days.

    “We want a sport that is representative of our hugely diverse fan base and that is why Formula 1, the FIA and all the teams are working hard to deliver on our detailed plans to create positive change across the sport. There is always more to do and the report will stimulate thoughts about further actions that are required.”

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    F1 chief Stefano Domenicali has pledged to take action on the issues highlighted by Hamilton

    Hamilton’s Mercedes team have been supportive of his endeavours to improve diversity in motorsport, including switching to a black livery in 2020.

    “It is an important piece of research that shines a light on many of the barriers that have contributed to the under-representation of people from minority ethnic backgrounds in British motorsport, and it enriches our understanding of those barriers and how they can be addressed,” said Mercedes in a statement.

    “Together with Lewis, we have begun working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport for the future, starting with the Mercedes Formula 1 team. We are at the beginning of a long journey together to make this happen and we look forward to building on a number of the Commission’s recommendations in the years ahead.”

    READ MORE: Hamilton vows to 'keep pushing' in fight for equality in 2021