Following Mercedes’ annual team photo last weekend ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has admitted that the team need to work harder on becoming more diverse.
The seven-time World Champion was disappointed to see that in the 2023 team photo taken at the Yas Marina Circuit, there was only “three people of colour”.
However, Hamilton did praise the fact that the team image showed that the Silver Arrows have employed more women, something he was pleased to see.
Overall, though, the Brackley-based team have a lot of work to do to become as diverse as Hamilton wants them to be.
To try and become more diverse, Mercedes launched a programme called ‘Accelerate 25’ three years ago, which gave them the target of increasing their amount of staff from under-represented backgrounds by 25 per cent by 2025.
Hamilton plays a key role in the programme and is pushing the German manufacturer to do more, with Formula 1 becoming more diverse being “more important” to the 103-time race winner than claiming an unprecedented eighth Drivers’ Championship.
He does recognise that some progress particularly at Mercedes has been made but he is certain that more must be done.
“It’s been a long process that started really here in 2019,” Hamilton said ahead of the season finale, as reported by RaceFans.net. “We just did a team photo and I’m still looking and I’m like, damn, we still have so much work to do. There’s three people of colour, for example. But there are a lot more women.
“But still that needs to shift. There will be a[nother] team photo one of the days this week and if I contrast that to 2019, I’m pretty sure that it’s not moved anywhere near as much as it should have. So the challenge is to see how we shift that.”
Prior to Mercedes kickstarting their programme, Hamilton actually set up The Hamilton Commission in 2020.
The purpose of this commission is to investigate the reasoning behind some groups not being represented in motorsport.
Following the start of this, Hamilton and Mercedes created the Ignite Charity, which gives the under-represented groups more insight into science, education, maths and technology.
Hamilton is delighted that he’s finally starting to see some results from the charity and the commission, something which makes him “really proud”.
“The work that I’m doing is really targeting kids and creating a future pipeline and it starts from grassroots,” Hamilton said. “It’s been really great to see finally the team coming together and starting to see that we’re starting to have a real impact. And it makes me really proud.
“When we were in Austin we had the kids come, all the young women come, when we were in the UK we had a real diverse group of kids come. It was really cool to be able to be in the position to be able to open up the door for these kids to see what is possible and spark interest and create dreams that they perhaps never thought it was possible.
“So I’m excited for the future. It’s just a long slog.”