Lewis Hamilton launches commission to improve diversity in motor sport

F1

The Hamilton Commission will encourage students from black backgrounds to study STEM subjects and pursue a career in motor sport or other engineering

Lewis Hamilton at a press conference before the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

DPPI

Lewis Hamilton has announced a new research body, dedicated to involving more young people from black backgrounds with motor sport.

The Hamilton Commission, set up in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, will look to encourage students from minority backgrounds to study Science, Technology, Engineering  and Maths (STEM) subjects, with a view to them establishing a career with teams or in other areas of engineering.

Outlining his plans in The Sunday Times, Hamilton wrote that Formula 1 retained “institutional barriers” that kept it “highly exclusive” and that it needed to be more representative of society.

He said that the F1 community had not changed since he joined, which “makes it feel like only a certain type of person is truly welcome in this sport”.

Hamilton recalled racist treatment as he was making his way through the ranks, describing other children throwing things at him while karting, and a fans taunting him in black face in 2007, his first season in Formula 1.

These obvious racist acts are widely condemned but, “when it comes to addressing structural racial issues, the people in power stay silent,” wrote Hamilton.

He has previously condemned those who said nothing as Black Lives Matter protestors took to the streets following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

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Describing education as the “leveller”, Hamilton wrote that he was using his platform to promote issues he cares deeply about, and creating The Hamilton Commission.

He described it as a “research partnership dedicated to exploring how motor sport can be used as a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with STEM subjects”.

“It will explore areas including lack of role models and career services at schools, opportunities to engage more black youth with STEM extracurriculars, barriers that prevent people from more diverse backgrounds joining the racing industry, and problematic hiring practices that result in fewer black graduates entering engineering professions,” he wrote.

“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,” he added.

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