RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton has insisted Formula 1 and society as a whole must seize the current opportunity to make “real meaningful changes” when it comes to equality and inclusivity.

    The global protests in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign have brought renewed attention to the issues of racism and diversity, and Hamilton – the first black superstar in F1 history – says action must be taken now to tackle these problems.

    The six time world champion said: “It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity.

    “I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change.”

    Hamilton’s team Mercedes today revealed they will be running a new black livery in 2020 as a stand against racism and discrimination, and pledged to improve the diversity of the team.

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    Mercedes are running a new black livery in 2020 as they make a stand against racism and discrimination

    “When I spoke to Toto about my hopes for what we could achieve as a team, I said it was so important that we stand united,” Hamilton said. “I would like to say a huge thank you to Toto and the Mercedes Board for taking the time to listen, to talk, and to really understand my experiences and passion, and for making this important statement that we are willing to change and improve as a business.

    “We want to build a legacy that goes beyond sport, and if we can be the leaders and can start building more diversity within our own business, it will send such a strong message and give others the confidence to begin a dialogue about how they can implement change.”

    READ MORE: Hamilton says Ecclestone comments show ‘how far we need to go'

    Valtteri Bottas echoed his team mate’s thoughts and said it was time to show a “commitment to change”.

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    "I am proud to stand with the team, with Lewis and with Mercedes-Benz in making this important statement," says Bottas

    “Formula One is a world that is defined by performance, but it still contains many barriers for people who come from backgrounds that haven’t traditionally been part of the sport,” the Finn said.

    “We know that our teams are stronger when they are more representative of the society we are part of, and it is important for us to be united and show our commitment to change.

    “Racism and discrimination have no place in our sport or in our society and I am proud to stand with the team, with Lewis and with Mercedes-Benz in making this important statement.”

    Hamilton recently announced the setting up of a new commission to improve diversity in motorsport, while Formula 1 has launched the #WeRaceAsOne initiative, along with a new Task Force specifically focused at identifying the employment and education opportunities for under-represented groups across Formula 1.