Hamilton to launch new commission to improve diversity in motorsport
Lewis Hamilton has announced the launch of The Hamilton Commission, a new research partnership aimed at making motorsport “as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.”
The announcement comes amid global protests around the world in support of Black Lives Matter, a campaign which Hamilton – the first black superstar in F1 history - has vocally supported.
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“I’ve been fighting the stigma of racism throughout my racing career — from kids throwing things at me while karting, to being taunted by fans in black face at a 2007 Grand Prix, one of my first Formula One races,” said Hamilton, in an OpEd in British newspaper The Sunday Times.
“I’m used to being one of very few people of colour on my teams and, more than that, I’m used to the idea that no one will speak up for me when I face racism, because no one personally feels or understands my experience,” added Hamilton.
Thousands of people are employed across this industry and that group needs to be more representative of society
“Most of the time, they don’t even see it and if they do, they let their fear of saying the wrong thing get in the way.
“Despite my success in the sport, the institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist. It is not enough to point to me, or to a single new black hire, as a meaningful example of progress. Thousands of people are employed across this industry and that group needs to be more representative of society.”
It’s for this reason that Hamilton said he wanted to start The Hamilton Commission, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
The research partnership will be dedicated “to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors,” said Hamilton.
“The time for platitudes and token gestures is over," he concluded. "I hope that The Hamilton Commission enables real, tangible and measurable change. When I look back in 20 years, I want to see the sport that gave a shy, working-class black kid from Stevenage so much opportunity, become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.”