F1 star Lewis Hamilton to set up commission to increase diversity

Lewis-Hamilton

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning the Emirates Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina racetrack in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Dec.1, 2019. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

LONDON — Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is to set up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.

The Mercedes driver said the aim of the Hamilton Commission would be to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.”

Writing in British newspaper The Sunday Times, Hamilton said it would be 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.”

“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 One races,” he wrote.

“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.”

Hamilton, who is the only Black world champion in F1, has spoken widely about racism after saying he was left feeling “so much anger, sadness and disbelief” following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

He wrote in the paper that the “institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist,” adding that the thousands of people employed in motorsport need to be more representative of society.

“Winning championships is great, but I want to be remembered for my work creating a more equal society through education,” he added.

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