Lewis Hamilton says he is committed to helping implement the changes required to make motorsport more diverse, as his commission released its findings and recommendations to increase the representation of black people in engineering.
The Hamilton Commission, established by F1’s seven-time world champion in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Engineering last year, published its report after 10 months of research into the barriers faced by black students progressing into engineering careers, and then inside the motorsport industry.
Hamilton, who co-chaired the commission with Dr Hayaatun Sillem working with a board of 14 commissioners, believes the research sets out “clear meaningful steps” for the motorsport industry to become more inclusive, while also highlighting the areas that can be improved in education.
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“We make ten recommendations which relate to shifting change within motorsport, maximising early-stage opportunities for Black youth and providing additional careers education support to those who need it most,” said Hamilton, F1’s only black driver, in the report.
“We know there is so much that needs to change when it comes to racial equality, but it’s impossible to tackle everything at once. Instead, we carefully chose these recommendations to ensure we have a focussed approach and, more importantly, recommendations that I can take responsibility for taking forward.
“We have always been set on being a ‘Commission of Action’, not just ideas, and so alongside my foundation and my joint initiative with Mercedes, we have also received support from a range of organisations to follow through on the recommendations, turning them into action.
“The recommendations will vary in timescale but it’s exciting that we can commit to tangible progress.”
What are the study’s findings?
The report states that “factors within wider society, some of which are systemic in nature, as well as practices within Formula 1 have been identified as contributing towards a situation in which only 1 per cent employees in Formula 1 are from Black backgrounds”.
The research said factors included hiring practices within motorsport teams that favour students from a select group of high-ranking universities; geographical factors; lower expectations of black students’ academic abilities; and the lack of black role models in STEM teaching positions.
The Hamilton Commission sets out 10 recommendations to drive lasting change under three key strands – support and empowerment, accountability and measurement, and inspiration and engagement.
The recommendations include asking F1 teams, and other motorsport organisations, to implement a Diversity and Inclusion charter, broadening access by expanding the apprenticeships provision, establishing a new exclusions innovation fund, and calling for additional STEM activity support to be provided to supplementary schools led by black community groups across the UK.
“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,” said Hamilton.
“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.”
F1: Hamilton Commission report ‘comprehensive and impressive’
Formula 1 said it welcomed the report from The Hamilton Commission and that the sport would continue to work to create a more diverse culture, with the findings to serve to “stimulate thoughts about further actions that are required”.
Stefano Domenicali, F1’s president and CEO, said in a statement: “The Hamilton Commission has delivered a comprehensive and impressive report that shows the passion Lewis has for this very important issue.
“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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