Hamilton Commission publishes report into lack of diversity in motor sport


A report into the lack of diversity in motor sport has been published by The Hamilton Commission after 10 months of research

Lewis Hamilton, 2021

Hamilton says the Commission's report has been one of the most satisfying milestones of his career

Emilio Morenatti - Pool/Getty Images

F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and The Hamilton Commission have published findings into the lack of diversity in motor sport after a 10-month period of research.

The report, entitled Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport, reveals root causes for lack of representation for Black people in UK motor sport and lists 10 points on how to address issues.

It calls on team principals and others in leadership positions to acknowledge that unfairness exists and to commit to changes that will improve minority representation in motor sport.

Interviews with sport stakeholders, representatives from F1 teams and the Formula 1 organisation, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Motorsport UK governing bodies, as well as Black engineers, academic researchers and experts in race and education have helped form a comprehensive report into underrepresentation, factors leading to lack of Black representation and ways to improve inequality.

Recommendations from the report focus on three key areas: Support and Empowerment, Accountability and Measurement, and Inspiration and Engagement. Each subsequent point aims to address each concern and achieve tangible change.

The findings also widen the focus outside of solely motor sport and calls for change in the education sector to improve opportunity, education and work prospects for Black students in schools and higher education.

  1. F1 teams expand access to motor sport by improving apprenticeship opportunities with those falling outside of F1’s new budget cap
  2. Establish innovation fund to address factors leading to students from Black backgrounds being excluded from school
  3. Pilot new approaches to improve Black representation in STEM subjects leading to careers in engineering through mathematics, physics, design and technology, and computing
  4. Create targeted support programmes for Black students aiding progression into higher education and work-based training in motor sport
  5. Scholarship programmes to aid Black graduates to progress into specialist motor sport roles
  6. F1 teams create Diversity and Inclusion Charter for motor sport to improve diversity and inclusion
  7. Promote National Education Union Anti-Racism Charter for schools and have teachers’ unions help widespread adoption of the Charter
  8. Call for Department of Education and other holders of education data to enable public access to disaggregated data on student and staff characteristics at subject level
  9. Develop guidance for STEM outreach activities to enable inclusive engagement with Black students in schools
  10. Provide STEM activity support to supplementary schools led by Black community groups in the UK

The report concludes with several recommendations into practical change that could lead to improvements.

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It says: “We call on those in leadership positions to support Black children to excel in STEM subjects, and to empower them to choose – and succeed – in fulfilling careers. We call on those in leadership positions to step up, to acknowledge the unfairness that exists and to commit to change – the first step being to collect data to form a benchmark from which to improve. We call on those in leadership positions to work harder to show Black children that STEM subjects, engineering and motor sport ARE for them, and to excite them about the opportunities that they offer.”

The 10 months of research into recruitment into the sector, knowledge of engineering and motor sport careers, education and progression of black students through schools, non-formal education opportunities and higher education/career paths has revealed evidence into a variety of factors limiting Black student progression into higher education.

It includes the ‘setting’ of young Black students into lower ability groups limiting their ability to achieve top grades at GCSE, which in turn reduces opportunities to take mathematics and physics at A level. Behaviour management practices in schools disproportionately affecting young Black students, including the disproportionately high incidence of exclusions of young Black Caribbean and Mixed White and Black Caribbean students. A lack of Black teachers and leaders in schools limiting the number of positive role models and limited activity in schools to address issues of inequalities of outcomes and attainment gaps across different ethnic groups.

The 94-page report also details many case studies and anonymous experiences from Black students, engineers and others within the sector on their own experiences in schools, education and Formula 1.

Hamilton has already established a joint foundation with Mercedes to promote diversity and said he was determined to further that work and help implement the changes recommended in the report in the future and that the Commission was one of the most fulfilling parts of his career.

“Through The Hamilton Commission, we’ve developed a comprehensive summary of the systemic issues preventing young Black people from pursuing careers in STEM,” he said.

“Through our Commission, we make ten recommendations which relate to shifting change within motor sport, maximising early-stage opportunities for Black youth and providing additional careers education support to those who need it most. The recommendations will vary in timescale but it’s exciting that we can commit to tangible progress. This report may mark the end of our ten-month research, but it is the beginning of a different phase, where our research and insights can help make motor sport a more diverse and equitable industry.

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the report across all the different stages. I couldn’t be more inspired by this team that combines some of the brightest minds in academia, engineering, diversity and inclusion, motor sport and politics. Each member has brought their own passion, experience and insights to this project and it’s clear that together, we have all we need to reimagine the future of the UK motor sport industry. Thank you all so much. This has truly been one of the most fulfilling milestones in my entire career.”