The Mercedes-AMG F1 W11, unveiled way back in February, will hit the track with its new look this Friday (3rd July) in Austria for Free Practice 1, with the first race of the 2020 F1 season scheduled for Sunday at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
This is far from just a paint job, though. A statement from Mercedes-Benz Motorsport reads: “In the past five weeks, the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a searching light on how much we need new measures and actions in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination. As a team, we have used the past weeks to listen to the perspectives of our team members, to learn and to reflect on our team as it is today and how we want it to be in the future.
“We are proud of our culture and our values. We prize the contribution of every individual, and our team members tell us that the experience within our team is an inclusive one. But in our organisation, just three per cent of our workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups and only 12 per cent of our employees are women. This lack of diversity shows that we need to find new approaches to attract talent from many areas of society we do not currently reach. We know that our team will be stronger if we can attract talents from the broadest possible pool and we are committed to achieving this through positive action.”
The result, as you can see, is striking. The words “End Racism” will be marked across the halo on the cars of both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and “#WeRaceAsOne” will be written on the mirrors. Moreover, the black livery is a “public pledge to improve the diversity of our team”, and as such Mercedes will announce a Diversity and Inclusion programme before the end of the season that will improve the sport’s accessibility, better educate staff, analyse the Mercedes recruitment process and create education initiatives “to encourage and support talented people from under-represented backgrounds who aspire to reach F1”.
Lewis Hamilton, who publicly called out those in the sport who were staying silent as the Black Lives Matter movement began to gather international pace, said: “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.”