Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes launch new charity to continue diversity push in motorsport
Lewis Hamilton has launched a new charitable initiative with Mercedes to support diversity and inclusion in motorsport – an aim shared by Hamilton’s eponymous commission, Mercedes’ ‘Accelerate 25’ scheme, and F1's We Race As One programme.
Named 'Ignite', the new charity has been founded after the Hamilton Commission’s extensive report on diversity in motorsport was published earlier this month and will focus on inspiring enthusiasm for motorsport through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. It will initially be supported by a “multi-million-dollar fund” created by Hamilton, his own Mission 44 charity, and Mercedes' F1 team.
According to a statement released on Tuesday, the charity will focus on developing “exciting” STEM educational materials, developing more diverse teachers to inspire students from under-represented backgrounds, and providing financial support to motivated STEM students.
"Mercedes have long supported my ambition to improve diversity and inclusion within the motorsport industry,” said Hamilton. “I am so thrilled that, through Ignite, we are able to formally work together to achieve this. Diverse workforces are not only more successful but are also the morally correct approach for any industry.
“The findings of The Hamilton Commission have provided us a fantastic base to begin our work, and I am confident that Ignite will result in real, tangible change within motorsport. For 15 years, I have remained one of the few Black employees within Formula 1, and I am proud that my work with Mercedes is going to change that for the better."
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff added: “Opening up motorsport and becoming a more diverse and inclusive team are fundamental to our team's values and, with the full support of Mercedes-Benz, we are committed to making a positive impact on society and building a platform from which future generations can access and enjoy our fantastic sport.
“Ignite will complement our team's own ‘Accelerate 25’ programme, and through these platforms we hope to see much more talent from under-represented groups both join our team and take up careers in the wider motorsport industry."
Mercedes’ Accelerate 25 programme aims for 25% of new starters in their team to come from under-represented groups until the end of 2025. They have already partnered with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK, hosted STEM Academy talks in schools, and partnered with the Stemettes to promote women in STEM careers.
McLaren have followed suit, collaborating with four partners to advance the team’s diversity and equality aims, as well as meet their commitment to Formula 1’s We Race As One initiative.