LONDON (Reuters) - Six-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is launching a commission to help motorsport engage more young people from black backgrounds and drive diversity.
The Briton, 35, said in a column in the Sunday Times newspaper that he had been working with the Royal Academy of Engineering to create a research partnership, the Hamilton Commission.
Hamilton, who spoke of the racism he has faced throughout his career, said that despite his own success in the sport “the institutional barriers that have kept F1 highly exclusive persist.
“It is not enough to point to me, or to a single new black hire, as a meaningful example of progress. Thousands of people are employed across this industry and that group needs to be more representative of society,” he added.
Formula One’s first black champion, who has been outspoken in support of recent Black Lives Matter protests, said education was “the key to unlocking a more equal society.”
“Winning championships is great, but I want to be remembered for my work creating a more equal society through education. That’s what drives me,” he said.
The commission will explore how motorsport can be a vehicle to engage more young people from black backgrounds with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
It will also consider the lack of role models, the barriers to people from more diverse backgrounds and “problematic hiring practices” that mean fewer black graduates go into engineering professions.
“The time for platitudes and token gestures is over,” said the Mercedes driver.
“I hope that The Hamilton Commission enables real, tangible and measurable change.
“When I look back in 20 years, I want to see the sport that gave a shy, working-class black kid from Stevenage so much opportunity, become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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