Lewis Hamilton to set up commission to increase diversity in motorsport

Luke Bradshaw
Sports Writer
Lewis Hamilton. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton will set up a commission to increase diversity across motorsport.

The six-time and reigning world champion aims to increase black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation across the sport, having been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter protests in recent months.

Writing in the Sunday Times, the 35-year-old said: “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 with blacked-up faces at a grand prix [in Spain in 2008], one of my first Formula One races.”

“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.”

Lewis Hamilton ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Hamilton’s steps run alongside a decision by the sport to launch an equality and diversity task force.

Formula One’s chief executive officer Chase Carey said on Sunday: "At our first race in Austria, Formula 1 will stand united to say loud and clear that racism must end."

READ MORE: 'Which one is next?' - Lewis Hamilton on Edward Colston statue

READ MORE: Anthony Joshua tells critics of protest speech: 'If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself!'

"We will show our full support in fighting inequality throughout the weekend and accelerate our own efforts to make Formula 1 more diverse and inclusive.

"As a global sport, we must represent the diversity and social concerns of our fans, but we also need to listen more and understand what needs to be done and get on with delivering."

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, Hamilton called out his own sport, highlighting its lack of diversity and silence on the issue.

On his Instagram, he wrote: “I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars, yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice,” he said. “I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can’t stand alongside us.”

It caused a number of fellow drivers, including, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz to respond with messages of support.

On Sunday Hamilton was present at the Black Lives Matter protests in Hyde Park, London.

On his commission, he added: "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.”

The 2020 suspended, and now reduced, Formula One season will get underway in Austria on 3 July.