Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes W11 with new livery, 2020

Phone call from Hamilton led to Mercedes’ black livery switch

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton instigated Mercedes’ decision to run a black livery for the 2020 F1 season as a stand against racism.

The six-times world champion, who has been a vocal supporter of the anti-racism protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd on May 25th, first raised the idea with team principal Toto Wolff a month ago.

Wolff spoke about his discussions with Hamilton at a media event in Vienna on Monday, reported by Austrian newspaper Der Standard. He said Hamilton wanted the team to show its support for the cause through more than just social media posts, which led to the idea to adopt a new livery and launch a drive to improve diversity within the team.

The new design, in which black replaces silver as the car’s base colour, features the motto “end racism” along with support for F1’s pro-diversity initiative ‘#WeRaceAsOne’. Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas will also race in black overalls as part of the team’s rebranding and sport revised helmet designs.

Mercedes said yesterday it will launch a new diversity and inclusion programme before the end of the season. It pointed out just 3% of its staff belong to minority ethnic groups.

However Wolff confirmed the team will not set hiring quotas to increase diversity among its workforce. “We don’t set quotas, we set goals,” he said.

“Increasing diversity will improve our performance in the long term,” Wolff added, pointing out the team intends to hire staff from a broader range of institutions than those it typically recruits from.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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99 comments on “Phone call from Hamilton led to Mercedes’ black livery switch”

  1. I know, because it was my first thought, that a lot of what Mercedes is doing looks like they’re just pleasing Hamilton’s whims. But even if that’s the case, this guy won with them a pile of Championships and the cause is good, so I think it’s fair enough.

    1. Why should he read it? Is he meant to go out & defend every single cause out there? Is that the only way you’d be ok with what he’s doing?

    2. i see these protests a really bringing people together.NOT
      it only makes it worse

    3. Lol everything Ham has done for them, winning them tons of championships, always being respectful and clean. Yeah merc are definitely in good terms with him and want to keep him for a long time

    4. Well if they have a good leader and human being in Lewis from the publicity point of view, I suppose he can be trusted to guide the team in that respect. Yes it is sort of a publicity stunt, but it is good publicity, that is to work in tandem with an real initiative. Let’s see how it goes.

    5. Mercedes have a severely tainted past, anything that can distract from that is very welcome.

    6. Could Mercedes have won any of those championships without Hamilton? Not downplaying Hamilton’s driving skills, but Mercedes have been building pretty good cars in the hybrid era.

      1. Cristiano Ferreira
        1st July 2020, 2:19


        The answer is YES. Mercedes doesn’t need Hamilton to win championships for them in the hybrid era. Anyway, their activism here is a good sign in these troubled times.

      2. Maybe not all of them. We could hypothesise all we want. Maybe Rosberg could’ve won them some instead. Maybe another driver would’ve stepped in place of Hamilton.

        Thing is, that’s not what happened in reality so there’s really no use going in depth about it. Hamilton and Mercedes is last decade’s most dominant combination.

      3. @CC & Cristiano Ferreira No Mercedes wouldn’t. The Mercedes is so good because of Hamilton’s input/feedback, look what happened to McLaren when Lewis left and joined Mercedes and look what happened to Mercedes when Lewis joined. Why do you think every teammate Hamilton had needed his feedback/set up etc because Hamilton’s feedback is so good. If it was not for Lewis Ferrari would have won 2017 and 2018 hands down.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          1st July 2020, 8:05

          And don’t forget his input when developing the hybrid V6’s, or his upfront feedback which caused Mercedes to win even before he joined them.

          Don’t get me wrong, @noname, Lewis is a deserved multi World Champion. But there is a lot more to Mercedes’ success than LH’s input/feedback.
          Just ask Ross.

        2. Well, of course, Mercedes won the 1954 and 1955 championships thanks to the invaluable input they were getting from the Unborn, the fact that they had such mediocre drivers as El Chueco and Stirling Moss contributed nothing to their success, it was all due to His inspiration.

    7. Hamilton dragged F1 into general public awareness in 2008. Mercedes and Hamilton are now synonymous. Commercially, their relationship is symbiotic. Hamilton is a very intelligent man and Mercedes know this, their brand has a lot to thank him for, particularly among minorities. People aspire to drive what Lewis drives, as a person of colour I’m very proud of Lewis and take inspiration from him. I just wish everyone else could see what I do and stop complaining because Lewis is highlighting what nobody wants to talk about. I wouldn’t be watching F1 were it not for Lewis.

  2. This is excellent, Mercedes are making the right noises. It’s easy for any company to send out a social media post with a hashtag, but changing the livery is a more visual way to make an impact.

    Mercedes themselves have pointed out that they only have 3% of staff from ethnic minorities, and Toto Wolff (I absolutely love the man) said “We don’t set quotas, we set goals” – this is good news. Instead of simply employing staff to fill quotas they want to do it properly and encourage talent into the team who represent ethnic backgrounds sadly under-represented at Mercedes currently.

    1. Mercedes themselves have pointed out that they only have 3% of staff from ethnic minorities

      As F1 is a global sport I wonder what constitutes an ethnic minority.

      1. It’s a global sport but the vast majority of people who work in F1 and its support industries live and work with a 60 mile radius of Motorsport Valley. So a global sport, but a somewhat localised industry.

        1. So what?
          Equality of opportunities does NOT mean equality of outcomes.

          1. @fantomius Exactly!

      2. Most engineers are white male.

        They can beat around the bush, but that how it is.

        In my place of work, it took us 4 years to find a female engineer, and now finally we have a black engineer aswell.

        Finding good engineers is hard, and very rare in minorities.

        It would be a lot easier to find a minority marketing, or some social study minority.

        I reckon this is how it is everywhere.

        Black livery wont do much, get BLM people to study STEM fields.

        1. Finding good engineers is hard, and very rare in minorities.

          It’s precisely here we should be asking the questions. Why is that?

          Probably goes all the way back to opportunities as a child and options for the childs parents etc. Somewhat akin to the USA stereotype of athletic black men being steered toward the gridiron rather than an Ivy league college…

          1. Are you suggesting a more diverse representation in american football teams?
            And I want more white men in NBA, too!

          2. If we have positive discrimination in F1 then we need to see it in the NBA and NFL too! The best people should be employed for any given job, regardless of colour or creed.

          3. William Jones
            30th June 2020, 20:24

            Well, it’s not difficult guys, find why white kids aren’t getting the opportunity in the sport that this site doesn’t cover, campaign, raise money and change the system so they get the opportunities. Don’t try to glom onto someone elses hard work and just make social media posts whilst sitting back and doing nothing, get out there and get it done, otherwise nothing will change!

        2. So who fault is that? The culture,parents,or government? GE and USG have equal opportunity guidelines. Society is suppose to drag people out of their homes and educate them to become an Engineer?

        3. In my workplace 80% of the engineers are black males and the other 20% black females. Depends on where you are from :-)

          I Europe and America it is obvious what the majority will be.. But I guess the relative proportion could be better, but that comes with development of the different communities in time.

          1. Nice perspective

        4. Probably because companies only recruit from specific universities, which is a core part of the problem

        5. Chris Horton
          30th June 2020, 21:55

          See, whilst the idea of equal opportunities is a good once, conversely, right there you’d just demonstrated clear inequality.

          Your company has actively and deliberately overlooked other people looking for jobs BECAUSE they’re white and male.

          Employing someone else because they’re black or female isn’t fair. You should be employing the best people for the job based on their skills. Nothing else.

  3. A know this is a long time ago but how come in 1995 Gerhard Berger designed a helmet saying “No War in the World” and people praised him and accepted it, but when Mercedes and Hamilton design to change their car or even their race kit’s to black to tackle racism and discrimination most of you lot have issues with it???
    I don’t want to sound a bit rude but isn’t this a bit of double standard and hypocrisy from fans not just here but in general.

    1. @Peter well said. That shows you how biased people still are, if you saw many websites and Mercedes’s IG page filled with these people and complaining about it SMH. Had it been Kimi then everybody would ride on him for that.

  4. As they say, “talk is cheap”. The real test is what practical changes the team plan to employ, that’s all that actually matters.

    Does this mean they will selectively target female and/or BAME candidates for job roles and positively discriminate, prioritising this over potential success? I seriously doubt it. Will it lead to them redacting names on CVs to begin reducing discrimination before interview stage? I hope so.

    1. Will it lead to them redacting names on CVs to begin reducing discrimination before interview stage? I hope so.

      That will be interesting, @joshgeake.
      Candidate A: 7 races wins, 11 pole positions
      Candidate B: 4 Virtual GP wins, beat teammate 6:1 in qualifying
      Candidate C: 4 WDC titles, 53 wins, 57 pole positions

      1. I didn’t mean drivers but yes, that level of objectivity.

        1. I understand, @joshgeake; just having some fun.

          Maybe I shouldn’t have done it as a reply because you made a very good point.
          As much as I consider myself not to be a racist, I still notice some prejudicial thoughts when I review resumes of candidates based on their names. I only hope that by being aware of it I can make sure it doesn’t affect my decision-making.

          1. The more interesting thing in all this is how they’re planning to ‘make their workforce more diverse’ when they’re going to have to half it in the very near future…

      2. @coldfly they are a race team so obviously they only will care to know who the black candidate is and hire that one.

        1. @jhg103 that should be easy…if you half the staff and don’t touch the 3% group…diversity % will double :-)

  5. Some older race fans could identify the silver arrows colour with fascism in pre WW2 days. How far do we go?

  6. “Wolff confirmed the team will not set hiring quotas to increase diversity among its workforce.”
    So it just a PR move.

    1. @ruliemaulana setting hiring quotas and balancing the numbers wouldn’t solve the fundamental issue of why ethnic minorities are under represented in the first place.

      Improving diversity requires culture change so that all people are provided the same fair and unbiased opportunity during recruitment (and at all stages that lead up to it, but that’s not necessarily Mercedes problem to tackle).

      1. Indeed @sparkyamg. And I think that for a race team that is very well know for reaching it’s goals, formulating goals towards more diversity can make a difference.

        The team is well versed to get behind a common goal and work on everything that is needed to reach it. I am looking forward to see over the next months (years?) to see how well they reach those goals.

      2. The biggest issue is the opportunity at the start of the process. So if we are talking about F1 we are talking about engineering. In the UK the opportunities don’t change on the colour of you skin as regards to school, Uni etc, but there does appear to be a lack of black people and women that enter this segment compared to white men.

        It would be fantastic if something was done to encourage and help generate more interest in the segment across more diverse backgrounds. To do this they need to get into the schools and make people aware of what you can achieve.

        Any decent manager knows it is better to have a broader mix of people that are of similar skill set.

        If that makes sense? Thats how i see it as someone who works in engineering.

        1. This. #EngineerLivesMatter

        2. The opportunities may not change on the colour of your skin; but they do if you are at an English school and its not your first language. At Alperton their were 35 languages spoken and in most cases their were very little opportunities in any field. A lot of people included teachers, students, governors and parents have turned this round over the years. There is a now particular stream whose emphasis is on STEM; helped in no small way by the recruitment by their Teacher of the Year of Lewis Hamilton in 2018 who visits regularly. In just the last few weeks the UN has used this school for the launch of their global quality education initiative; attending by Hamilton. Small steps, but in the right direction.


      3. improving diversity requires culture change so that all people are provided the same fair and unbiased opportunity

        So basically you’re agree that this just a PR move because the solution of improving diversity might take about four generation to succeed. And changing car livery add nothing on the process. @sparkyamg

        1. @ruliemaulana that’s not at all what I said, and your opinion that culture change requires generations is evidence enough of why we’re even discussing this in the first place.

          Change starts with us, now. It doesn’t need to be passed on for it to take effect.

          1. @sparkyamg you really think black livery give unbiased opportunity? That’s a bit weird, man.

      4. @ruliemaulana sorry, I thought I was replying to someone who may have misunderstood Mercedes’ intention but I realise now that you’re just a waste of time.

  7. For its entire existence F1/Motor Racing has been the domain of wealthy white men. If it wants to survive it needs to recognize/acknowledge that the world is not made up of wealthy white men…hurt dunit!

    1. Indeed John

    2. For its entire existence F1/Motor Racing has been the domain of wealthy white men

      Erm, so, Lewis? White? Well, he’s half white. Wealthy? He is now, but hey, he was once middle class, so that doesn’t count does it?. A man, yes, few would question that.

      1. @frasier in the history of F1, the only black driver. As you well know, he didn’t start with 6 world championships, he didn’t start from a wealthy background. No, the Hamilton’s made it through sheer commitment. Imagine for a minute the barriers the like of Anthony Hamilton had to overcome to make this happen? This is in addition to the hard work OR significant wealth it takes for anyone to make it to the top of one of the worlds most exclusive clubs.

        Try not to be so ignorant of the truth, look at the percentages and you should notice that there has always been a bias if you don’t conform to the white European conservative ideal…

        1. Robert Kubica had to heat up the carts fro the likes of Hamilton and Rosberg while the boys were safe under the wings of McLaren Mercedes, around the age of 11 or 12. Damn those priviledged white Europeans.

        2. @psynrg instead of insults, why not actually read the quote and my reply.

          Whites are not the people who have succeeded in motorsport, try Asians, Chinese, Mexicans, Colombians, not to mention Blacks. Are there hurdles to overcome? Sure, but the hardest one of all is not having talent, especially if you want to rise to F1. No talent was clearly something you could not accuse Lewis of suffering from, starring on Blue Peter for winning major R/C car championships as a child. THIS was why Anthony Hamilton went out on a limb for his boy.

          This current hysteria is ridiculous and no co-incidence that it happens on a 4 year cycle, stirred up by those who have a vested interest. Read this and perhaps YOU will be enlightened.


          1. petebaldwin (@)
            30th June 2020, 17:46

            I don’t think I’ll be too enlightened by reading an article written by a climate change denier who until recently, was writing about how Coronavirus was a hoax…

          2. @frasier apologies if this turns out to be a rather long post but I think it’s important to correct some of the issues here.

            Firstly, I’ll start with the following statement: A carrot is a vegetable.

            Do you feel the need to clarify this, saying that broccoli is a vegetable also, and that all vegetables are equal? Of course not, that’s just ridiculous.

            So why is it so easy to say this with vegetables, but so hard when it comes to race? Why must people become defensive, arguing that all lives matter? Yes, of course they do. It’s should be obvious.

            So why does the phrase “black lives matter” affect people so much? It is not saying that black lives matter more than white lives. It is not threatening the rights of white people. It is simply asking that black people are given the same rights that white people have enjoyed for centuries.

            For anyone that has an issue with violent protests. Instead of saying “it’s awful that these black people are protesting violently”, why not try asking “what has happened that’s causing these black people to protest so violently, and how can I help.” Try to see the problem and work towards a solution rather than ignoring the problem in the first place.

      2. pastaman (@)
        30th June 2020, 15:03

        Erm, so, you came up with a single example among thousands of those who are within the domain of F1

      3. Lewis came from a “middle class” background? You clearly do not.understand the class divide in the UK.

  8. What black people demands:
    – ending systemic racism
    – not being killed by police for irrelevant or non-existing crimes

    What rich powerful people gives them:
    – old tv shows being removed from steaming platforms.
    – cars painted in black

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      30th June 2020, 15:26

      Lol, if you know where the switch is to end your first 2 points please point it out to everyone. It’s not going to end overnight.

      1. Of course there is no switch. And the issue is very complicated to solve, focus on essential changes in society is important if we want to improve anything on this issue.
        PR stunts from big companies to make them look good is absolutely irrelevant, specially if they are not followed by any real action.
        For example, is Mercedes ready to put a black (excluding Hamilton) or indian ascent person doing their next TV ad for europe? It’s still a PR stunt, but at least would provide a nice message to society.
        About Hamilton, I would like to see him to be able to come out of his bubble and do some action with some consequences to him.
        I simply don’t get the way of thinking of Hamilton in this:
        (Lots of racism in society)
        “I’ll solve this, I’ll call Toto and we’ll paint our car in black”

        1. Forget the livery, because on its own it would be almost inconsequential. But it is accompanied by a commitment to improve diversity within Mercedes and the larger sport. That’s the important bit.

          1. Well, of course that’s more important. Unfortunately I saw that before. Today this is an hot topic and every company feels the pressure to do something.
            In 2 or 3 years no one will remember this commitment from Mercedes, and they won’t have any consequences for not keeping their promise.

        2. ColdFly (@)
          1st July 2020, 5:24

          PR stunts from big companies to make them look good is absolutely irrelevant

          Yet we’re having a lively discussion on an F1 site only because Mercedes ‘stunted’ by painting its car black.

    2. I’d normally agree with your point, but Mercedes can’t exactly meet the demands you’re outlining.

    3. What can Toto do about taking down old youtube streams?!

  9. The sooner Hamilton goes from F1 the better . I’m tired of him constantly whinging about privilege like he doesn’t have a private plane and live in Monaco.

    1. If the world had done a better job at treating all people equally we wouldn’t have to

      1. …listen to privileged people ‘whinging’.

        But since we haven’t done, we do now. Hamilton is using his platform to help make a change. By knocking it you’re indirectly contributing to the problem… Is that your intention?

        1. @sparkyamg
          Are you really suggesting that @roam90 is more privileged that Lewis Hamilton?
          Like, seriously?

          1. This is the third post you have made today where you have completely missed the point of the post you are replying to.

          2. @liko41, I suggest you first carefully read the posts before you reply.
            You did the same earlier today.

          3. @coldfly
            I do and I probably understand it and reply to it properly.
            That’s why you gets so salty.

          4. William Jones
            1st July 2020, 10:29

            Go on then @Fantomius, explain how you managed to divine that XMG suggested that Roam90 was more privileged than Lewis Hamilton, because there is no way that respects even the loosest terms of the English language that leads to that interpretation.

    2. It must be awful that you forced to read these articles against your will. Or be made to watch interviews with him that you don’t want to watch. Can’t you seek help somewhere if it affects you that badly?

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        30th June 2020, 22:12

        I know what you are saying, but the whole “you don’t have to read it” actually is worse. What you get is that people only go to sites which agree with them and you get all these echo chambers and islands where people only agree. Not every comment will be a great insightful one, but it’s better to have some kind of debate then that we all just go live in a bubble.

    3. He doesn’t have a private plane.

      1. I come to F1 sites because I’m an F1 fan . However Hamilton’s constant political rants about how oppressed he is is offensive to black people who ACTUALLY live in the real world and deal with things he doesn’t have to worry about despite acting like he does.

      2. He did own a jet, he sold it when he was criticized for talking green but sipping around the world in his jet. but at least he did sell it to support his conviction to a greener world.

  10. The fight against racism is great but it would also look badass

  11. It is clear that every day we are more trapped by the dictatorship of “political correctness”.
    Racism is not corrected with “reverse racism”
    Racism is fought with education.
    And the more educated people are, the less vulnerable people are to comments from other people.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      30th June 2020, 22:08

      I would use peer pressure. Dictatorship is something totally different and does not apply.

  12. The greatest Grand Prix driver of them all should just drive the car. Regardless of its color. I happen to think the Merc looked much better when silver.
    But in today’s world when you are the best ever you get what you want. If a black car tells us all how awful we treat each other then all the cars should be black. Why don’t we just ACT like we care for each other instead of having to paint everything black to say I happen to actually care. Give Lewis what he wants, only he knows how Bad this burden really is. I’m not black but feel like all people need to be more understanding of each other. So painting cars black, wearing black uniforms all to make other races rise to common standard of life Might be the answer at the moment. What about six months from now? Back to the old ways? Why cant we all just get along? I think humans are destine to repeat their short comings. I expect this issue to continue after this current attempt for us to all love each other runs its course. I turn to Formula One to escape the rigors of life. I watch the racing to witness all that racing cars are. If this effort to paint everything black today is what makes all of us feel better then does that mean we may see red cars someday or yellow cars? In support of other nationalities ??You know what I mean. Let’s get this out of our system once and for all. Love each other and turn on the green light. Let’s go racing

    1. William Jones
      30th June 2020, 20:39

      I mean, if people had just acted like they cared about ethnic minorities in the first place, you probably wouldn’t be having riots and cars turning colours that you don’t like as much. I hope you talk this talk in real life, because then your kids might not have to suffer the indignity of seeing other people rallying around a symbolic change, a symbolic change that comes with a promise and a committent that we can hold them too, and criticise them if they do not.

      Symbols are important, otherwise no country would bother with a flag, no company would bother with branding and no cause would bother with a slogan. That marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry proves without a doubt that it works and is important.

    2. The huge majority of people in this world DO care for each other regardless of race, sex or background.

  13. I think Lewis orders things at Mercedes. What next – a new logo? Having said that, I like the welcome break from silver.

  14. If that’s what it took to get what personally looks like the best Merc livery so far and on top of that have a meaningful message, that’s massive!

  15. Blake Marshall
    30th June 2020, 23:56

    Why is Lewis Hamilton banging on about black lives matter. He has been involved in motorsport since he was a child and has been a millionare since he was 18.
    People say his family was poor but his dad still managed to pay for his go karting which is not a cheep hobby.
    The only odd thing about the Hamilton’s is they are a middle class family pretending to be working class.

    1. ‘But as an eight year-old sleeping on his father’s sofa shortly after his parent’s divorce, F1 success seemed an impossible dream. Father, Anthony, still chased it with all his might, at times holding down four jobs.

      “My Dad said in the first year we spent £20,000. He put my step-mum’s life savings, his life savings and re-mortgaged the house just for that year,” he added

      “It’s a huge gamble and it’s a huge commitment. A lot of people do that and don’t get the end result I did.’

      Article from the Daily Mirror – 30 June 2014

      Sounds super middle class and cushy to me /s

      I hate to break it to you, but Lewis Hamilton is particularly well-placed to voice his opinion on Black Lives Matter because a) he’s black, b) he has experienced racism both growing up and as an adult, and c) he is a high profile star in a sport where inclusivity and diversity have been found wanting.

  16. “Increasing diversity will improve our performance in the long term”

    How? I honestly dont know, hence I’m curious.

    1. If you read the full article they look for talent from a few traditional places. They are widening the scope of where they look and following a number of other initiatives to broaden the pool available. They already do it for their intern program. Its the same argument that some make against Ferrari for general not recruiting outside of Italy; therefore narrowing the talent pool available to them.

  17. Winston Byrd
    1st July 2020, 5:08

    I think it’s funny because if you put on Black Face it’s all wrong. I don’t get humans

  18. roberto giacometti
    1st July 2020, 6:21

    Here we go – F1 is now a racial platform _ Thank You Lewis .
    So we gonna have a yellow car for all the asians?
    A white car for all us palefaces?
    A rainbow pride colour car for all the gays?
    Where’s it gonna end?
    Too late -the gate is open the horse has bolted.
    Blame Lewis.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      1st July 2020, 7:25

      I was like you @schemo27optusnet-com-au, and did not want non-racing topics to be featured on this site.

      But when reading some of the comments it seems that we have a few deniers of racism, and probably even latent supporters on this site.
      I think this topic is too important to gloss over, and I do want to know who those deniers and supporters are so I can choose if/how I interact with them in the future.

      1. That sounds rather discriminatory

  19. i think mercedes does anything just to defer the attention from their discriminating past… but running black cars? that is just pushing more attention to the last time a well known name used black mercedes open seaters back in 1938….

  20. Are we racing yet?

  21. Nik (@nickelodeon81)
    1st July 2020, 14:38

    That looks awesome. Good for Hamilton.

  22. Hamilton will loose this years formula one WdC because of concentrating on politics instead his driving. you can take that to the bank.

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