Following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in America a few weeks ago, Black Lives Matter has very much become a topic around the world as people protest about racism and inequality.
Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal on the matter in recent weeks with a number of posts and stories on his Instagram account. The Brit is going to launch the Hamilton commission in the hope that motorsport will come diverse.
“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,’’ said Hamilton in a column with the Sunday Times.
“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.’’
“Despite my success in the sport, the institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist. It is not enough to point to me, or to a single new black hire, as a meaningful example of progress. Thousands of people are employed across this industry and that group needs to be more representative of society.”
"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."
The Brit added that he wants motorsport ‘’to become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.’’
Talking about his commission, which has been set up in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Hamilton said ‘’the time for platitudes and token gestures is over.’’
"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. 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."
"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.”
Hamilton also explained why he called out his fellow F1 drivers for not speaking up about racism and Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd.
"I saw people I respected choosing to say nothing and it broke my heart. It's why I had to speak out," said Hamilton.