Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will race in black-liveried Mercedes cars in the 2020 F1 season, in order to make a clear visual stand against racism.
Mercedes have raced in their historical ‘Silver Arrows’ trim since the teams debut in 1954, but a statement confirmed they would be making this visual change as part of a wider pledge to improve the diversity of their own team.
The statement read:
For 2020, we have chosen to race in an all-black base livery as a public pledge to improve the diversity of our team – and a clear statement that we stand against racism and all forms of discrimination
This revised car will take to the track for the first time at 10am July 3, as part of the first practice session of the Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Bottas will also wear black overalls in this coming season, and the W11 car will carry the call to ‘End Racism’ on the halo and the F1-wide #WeRaceAsOne message on its mirrors.
Lewis Hamilton – F1’s six-time champion and the sport’s only black driver – has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and attended a peaceful protest in London two weeks ago. The 35-year-old has recently revealed plans to launch The Hamilton Commission, aimed at creating greater opportunities for black students to enter the motorsport industry in the future.
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 [Wolff] 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.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said F1’s six-time champions ‘will not shy away from our weaknesses’ in areas of diversity with the Brackley team set to announce a diversity and inclusion programme before the season begins.
Mercedes have said that currently only 3% of their workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups, while just 12% are women. Wolff said:
Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes. 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. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank our parent company Mercedes-Benz and our family of team partners who have supported and encouraged this initiative.
Bottas also declared ‘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’.