Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has released his highly anticipated report on improving diversity in motorsport, offering 10 recommendations to bring about lasting change within the industry.
The British driver has taken the knee before every F1 race since the start of last season as he persuaded his Mercedes team to paint their cars black in a defiant crusade against racism.
Last year it set up the Hamilton Commission and a 14-member council delivered its findings, calling for a diversity and inclusion charter to be implemented across F1 teams and other motorsport organisations. .
Widening the apprenticeship offer to include higher apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships as an alternative route into the sector are among other suggestions to try to attract under-represented groups to F1.
Paid internships and work experience programs, as well as support for the creation of scholarship programs to enable black graduates to progress into specialist roles in motorsport were also offered.
The “comprehensive and impressive report” will take time to digest, according to Stefano Domenicali, but the F1 chairman and chief executive says the hierarchy “are in total agreement that we need to increase diversity in the sport”.
Hamilton said: “Given the right opportunities and the right support, young people can excel at anything they think of.
“But our research shows that many young black people are deprived of opportunities within STEM (subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and their full potential is limited.”
The board of commissioners – which includes Hamilton’s former boss at McLaren, Martin Whitmarsh – was recruited for his knowledge of areas including motorsport, politics, education and engineering.
Their research highlighted several factors that have contributed to a situation where only 1% of F1 employees are of black descent, including hiring practices that favor students from a select group of top-tier universities. and a lack of black role models in STEM. teaching positions.
“Although I have had a successful career in motorsport, it has been a lonely journey as one of the few black individuals within Formula 1,” Hamilton added.
“After 15 years of waiting for the industry to catch up, I realized I had to take action myself. To do that, I needed to understand what was holding the industry back from being as diverse as the world around him.
“Through the commission’s research, we can see that there are clear and significant steps the motorsports industry needs to take to create a more inclusive environment where diversity can thrive, but also that we need to address the barriers that black students face that exist throughout their educational journey.
“Some of these obstacles I recognize from my own experiences, but our findings have opened my eyes to the magnitude of these problems. Now that I am armed with the commission’s recommendations, I am personally committed to ensure they are implemented I am so proud of our work to date, but this is really just the beginning.
The report, titled “Accelerating Change: Improving Black Representation in British Motorsport”, took 10 months to compile, with 10 research-driven actionable recommendations to help drive lasting change.
Domenicali said: “The Hamilton Commission has delivered a comprehensive and impressive report which shows Lewis’ passion for this very important issue.
“We will take the time to read and consider all the findings, but we fully agree that we need to increase diversity in sport and we have taken steps to address this and will announce further actions in the next few days.
“We want a sport that is representative of our hugely diverse fanbase and that is why Formula 1, the FIA and all the teams are working hard to implement our detailed plans to create positive change in the sport. There is always more to do and the report will stimulate thoughts on what further actions are needed.”