Mercedes launch public pledge to fight racism in F1

Mercedes F1 has announced they’ll have a ‘renewed purpose’ when F1 resumes, aiming to increase diversity in the team and the sport.

They’ll be running a black-based livery for the remainder of the season, with ‘End Racism’ and ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ displayed on the halo and mirrors respectively, and have pledged to introduce a ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ programme before the end of the season.

They said the programme will raise awareness within the team, analyse personnel recruitment and improve accessibility to the sport for people from under-represented backgrounds.

Racing restarts this weekend for the Austrian Grand Prix, which will be the first runout for the livery, after Mercedes used the traditional silver-based livery for testing in Barcelona and intended to use it for the cancelled Melbourne season opener.

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Just 3% of the team’s employees are ethnic minority and 12% are female, and Toto Wolff said: “Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes. But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn’t enough if we remain silent.”

“We intend to find and attract the very best talents from the broadest possible range of backgrounds, and to create credible pathways for them to reach our sport, in order to build a stronger and more diverse team in the future.”

For much of lockdown, Mercedes’ star driver Lewis Hamilton has been heavily involved with the Black Lives Matter movement that’s erupted since George Floyd was killed by a US policeman kneeling on his neck during an arrest.

He attended a BLM protest in Hyde Park in London last week, and on social saying he felt he stands alone as a black person involved in F1. He also spoke out against Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that “in many cases black people are more racist than white people”.

The six-time World Champion backed Mercedes’ latest venture, saying: “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.

“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.

“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.”

Teammate Valterri Bottas also praised the initiative, saying: “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.”

“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.”