Lewis Hamilton says the strong stance Mercedes is taking by adopting an all-black livery as part of a pledge to combat discrimination and improve diversity can empower other companies to take similar actions.
Mercedes has changed its silver livery to a black design for the 2020 season in what it says is “a public pledge to improve the diversity of our team — and a clear statement that we stand against racism and all forms of discrimination,” Hamilton has been particularly vocal in his support for the Black Lives Matter movement — attending rallies and setting up the Hamilton Commission to try and engage more young Black people with STEM subjects — and sees the Mercedes message as crucial in encouraging others to seek change too.
“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,” Hamilton said. “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 (Wolff, Mercedes team principal) 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.”
Both Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas will change their helmet designs and race in black overalls this season, with the Finn adding his support of the stance.
“Formula 1 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,” Bottas said. “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.”