Lewis Hamilton has announced he is launching The Hamilton Commission as his direct contribution to making motorsport ‘as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in’.

The Hamilton Commission, launched in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, will target young people from black backgrounds with a view to getting them involved with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, with the six-time F1 World Champion saying he wants to make ‘real, tangible and measurable change’.

The commission’s unveiling comes after global protests in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign in recent weeks, with Hamilton becoming a vocal campaigner through the press and social media.

 

 

Writing in an OpEd in The Sunday Times, Hamilton said his success in the sport was not enough to suggest enough has been done to break the ‘institutional barriers’ of F1 and that now was the time to act.

“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 said.

“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.

"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 time for platitudes and token gestures is over," he concluded. "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.”