Lewis Hamilton has announced that he will launch ‘The Hamilton Commission’ to help engage more diversity within motorsport.
Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton says that he has launched a project to help encourage racial diversity within motorsport. Hamilton has been extremely vocal on social media in recent weeks in light of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and says he is going to use his prominent position in global sport to help encourage greater diversity.
Having criticised the lack of diversity within motorsport and Formula 1, Hamilton says he’s aiming to change things in his sport.
Writing in an exclusive interview for the UK’s The Sunday Times, Hamilton gave some insight into what he has faced during his two decades of racing and how he’s teamed up with the Royal Academy of Engineering to make a difference.
“I’ve been fighting the stigma of racism throughout my racing career, from kids throwing things at me while karting, to being taunted by fans in black face at a 2007 Grand Prix, one of my first Formula 1 races.” Hamilton said.
“I’m used to being one of very few people of colour on my teams and, more than that, I’m used to the idea that no one will speak up for me when I face racism, because no one personally feels or understands my experience. Most of the time, they don’t even see it and if they do, they let their fear of saying the wrong thing get in the way.”
“The unchanged make-up of the F1 community throughout my career makes it feel like only a certain type of person is truly welcome in this sport, one who looks a certain way, comes from a certain background, fits a particular mould and plays by certain unwritten rules.”
“Even now, the media ask me different questions than they do my competitors and make accusations directly and indirectly, you’re not British enough, not humble enough, not loved enough by the public.”
Hamilton explained how he aims to make a difference by teaming up with the Royal Academy of Engineering:
“I have been working with the Royal Academy of Engineering to create The Hamilton Commission, a research partnership dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors.” he wrote.
“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.” Hamilton continued.
“This will not be arm’s length research. We want to hear from the young people and graduates who deal with these challenges every day and we are in the process of bringing on additional partners who work on the ground in black communities to bring first-hand perspective. In addition, we want to bring in leaders from policy and business who are committed to leading on the activation of research recommendations. The time for platitudes and token gestures is over.”
“I hope that The Hamilton Commission enables real, tangible and measurable change. When I look back in 20 years, 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.”