Things tend to move fast in Formula One, but the month of June has been one for the record books. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement, Formula One was quick to respond and launched the ‘We Race As One’ initiative; Lewis Hamilton started the Hamilton Commission and now the team he races for, and has won 5 Drivers’ Championships and 6 Constructors’ Championships for, Mercedes, has announced a slick black livery that will adorn the W11 for the 2020 F1 season.
The Mercedes-AMG F1 website announced the livery alongside quotes from Markus Schaefer, Member of the Board of Management Daimler AG, Responsible for Group Research and Non-Executive Chairman of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team; Team Principal Toto Wolff and the team’s drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
The full statements are shown below and start with Markus Schaefer.
“In recent weeks, events around the world have reinforced the importance of continuing to fight against racism and all forms of discrimination. At Mercedes, we know that the strength of our organisation lies in the diversity of our people, and we are proud to be able to use one of our most prominent global platforms to signal our commitment to this fundamental principle of our society and our business.”
Markus Schaefer’s thoughts were shared alongside Toto Wolff, the maestro at Mercedes who seems to have the Midas touch at and still has an unannounced future. For now though, the inspirational Team Principal is proud to unveil his team’s new approach:
“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 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. 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. 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. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank our parent company Mercedes-Benz and our family of team partners who have supported and encouraged this initiative.”
The approach, mindset and dedication of Mercedes is clear to see and the beacon that has been leading the way through this has been Lewis Hamilton and the 6-time Drivers’ World Champion was thrilled to see the approach his team has taken.
“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. 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. When I spoke to Toto about my hopes for what we could achieve as a team, I said it was so important that we stand united. I would like to say a huge thank you to Toto and the Mercedes Board for taking the time to listen, to talk, and to really understand my experiences and passion, and for making this important statement that we are willing to change and improve as a business. 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.”
When Lewis Hamilton first took to social media to voice what he considered to be silence from the leaders of the F1 community, he soon found he had launched his rivals on the grid into action and in no time George Russell and Charles Leclerc had posted their own Instagram reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement.
So, what did Lewis Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas have to say about the team’s new livery?
“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. Racism and discrimination have no place in our sport or in our society and I am proud to stand with the team, with Lewis and with Mercedes-Benz in making this important statement.”
Mercedes has traditionally raced in motorsport in silver. So much so that in F1 alone, the Silver Arrows dates back as far as 1954. However, not only a livery change but the drivers’ race overalls shall also be the colour of black and you can expect their helmets to take a similar route.
These are changing times and Mercedes have been quick to say that they will lead the change. Just like the last 6 years, we can now wonder how long it will be before other teams on the grid try and catch up with them.