The announcement comes amid global protests around the world in support of Black Lives Matter, a campaign which Hamilton – the first black superstar in F1 history – has vocally supported.
Hamilton has since announced the setting up of a new commission to improve diversity in motorsport, while Formula 1 has launched the #WeRaceAsOne initiative,[hyperlink to We Race As One article] along with a new Task Force [hyperlink to Governance & Oversight section] specifically focused at identifying the employment and education opportunities for under-represented groups across Formula 1.
“Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief of Mercedes,” said Team Principal Toto Wolff. “But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn’t enough if we remain silent.
“We wish to use our voice and our global platform to speak up for respect and equality, and the Silver Arrow will race in black for the entire 2020 season to show our commitment to greater diversity within our team and our sport.”
In Mercedes’ organisation, just three per cent of the workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups and only 12% of employees are women. The team say it’s this lack of diversity that shows they need to find new approaches to attract talent from any areas of society they do not currently reach, and they have committed to announcing a diversity and inclusion programme before the end of the season
“We will not shy away from our weaknesses in this area, nor from the progress we must still make; our livery is our public pledge to take positive action,” continued Wolff. “We intend to find and attract the very best talents from the broadest possible range of backgrounds, and to creative credible pathways for them to reach our sport, in order to build a stronger and more diverse team in the future.”
In addition to changing the colours of their car, Hamilton and Bottas will also race in black overalls in 2020, with both drivers adapting their helmet designs. As well as featuring prominently around the track in Austria, the call to ‘End Racism’ will feature on the halo of Mercedes cars, while the united F1 initiative #WeRaceAsOne will be featured of the mirrors of the W11.
“We want to build a legacy that goes beyond sport,” said Hamilton, “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.”
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