Lewis Hamilton has thanked Mercedes after the reigning Formula One world champions unveiled a new black livery for the 2020 season, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The German manufacturer unveiled a new design for their car to start the week of the first race of the delayed 2020 campaign, with the action set to get underway this weekend with the Austrian Grand Prix.
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Having dominated the last six years, Mercedes will again be the team to beat, and having returned to the sport in 2010, they have competed for the last decade in their familiar Silver Arrows livery that has carried both Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to the world championship.
But an announcement on Monday morning confirmed that the team will switch to a new black livery for the entire 2020 campaign in a show of solidarity and to help show the sport is doing what it can to improve diversity and inclusion.
Hamilton has been vocal in trying to fight racial inequality and injustice, following the killing of George Floyd in the United States last month while in police custody, and discussions with the team about what more they can do to tackle racism has lead to the change of livery ahead of the new season.
“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.”
The car will also carry the message ‘End Racism’, as well as ‘We Race As One’, which is the slogan of Formula One’s new anti-racism campaign that was launched last week.
Mercedes said that the decision to change their livery is “a statement that we stand against racism and discrimination in all forms and a public pledge to further improve the diversity of our team and our sport”.
The team publicly revealed that of their entire workforce, just three per cent identify as belonging to a minority ethnic group, with just 12 per cent of employees female, and after speaking and listening to the different voices within the company, there was an acceptance that Mercedes ‘needs to find new approaches to attract talent from many areas of society we do not currently reach’.
They have also announced the introduction of a Diversity and Inclusion programme that will be up and running by the end of the year.
“Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes,” added team principal and chief executive Toto Wolff. “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.”
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