Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2019

Why F1 needs a global equivalent of the Hamilton Commission’s report on diversity


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Timing is, in Formula 1, everything – so the release of The Hamilton Commission’s report into diversity in (UK) motorsport in the run-up to the seven-time Formula 1 world champion’s home race could hardly have been better. That publication follows the abhorrent displays of unadulterated racism in the wake of Britain’s Euro 2020 loss to Italy on Sunday at Wembley.

Even the most cursory scroll through the 180-page report shows how much time, effort and expense has been expended on a project that is clearly extremely near and dear to seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, who has been at the forefront of calls for diversity in Formula 1 since he first formally joined the sport in 2007. Indeed, a case could be made that it was his calls that last year galvanised F1 as a whole into diversity action.

The rollcall of respondents is as comprehensive as it is remarkable – the list of names, most with pre- or suffixes, runs to around 150 – while the credentials of commissioners cannot be faulted, comprising diversity advocates, trustees, professors and academics and Lewis’ former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, a man as balanced and measured as few have been in F1.

Diverse the group certainly is, and dedicated to the ideals of the commission its members most certainly are.

The presentation of the report, titled “Accelerating change: Improving Representation of
Black People in UK Motorsport” is also well up to standard, with Hamilton’s trademark purple hue familiar to most from his helmet livery used to highlight excerpts, while the (purple) logo reminds of both his “Hammer time” symbol and an internal combustion piston. Impressive stuff.

Report: F1 details plan to attract students from under-represented groups
The purpose and scope of the commission, co-chaired by Sir Lewis Hamilton MBE and Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, is clearly spelt out in the opening sentence of the report: “The Hamilton Commission will seek to improve the representation of black people in UK motorsport.”

The report further states: “For the purposes of this research the term black people includes Black African, Black Caribbean, Black British and those with mixed heritage Black African or Black Caribbean backgrounds,” before adding “…it was felt that a specific focus on the experiences and representation of black people in motorsport will ensure a tight set of recommendations and actions.

“[Only] where no data exists specifically on black people, the commission will make use of data on broader minority ethnic groups.

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Recommendations, divided into three main categories – support and empowerment, accountability and measurement, and inspiration and engagement – include:

F1 teams and other motorsport [in the UK] broaden apprenticeships to provide alternate pathways, and increase work placement and experience schemes

An innovation fund for development programmes be established to address factors that contribute to high levels of exclusion from schools of students from black backgrounds

F1 and FIA flags, Hungaroring, 2020
The FIA is charged to “fight any form of discrimination”
New approaches to increase the number of black teachers of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) be piloted

Targeted supported programmes for black students in post-16 education be created to enable progression to higher education courses and work-based training opportunities linked to motorsport

Scholarship programmes to enable black graduates to progress to specialised motorsport roles be created

Does the report go far enough? By its definitions and ambit the Hamilton Commission concerns itself solely with representation of a single ethnic group living in a specific country. While its net includes the wider motorsport sector, the report references F1 128 times despite the sport being globally regulated by the FIA, whose statutes prohibit any form of discrimination on whatever basis.

This is the body that, forget not, founded a Women in Motorsport Commission in 2010 – albeit almost five years after its two-wheeler equivalent FIM established its Women in Motorcycling movement – and last year donated €1m to a diversity fund.

“The FIA is guided by the fundamental principles of our statutes which state we should fight any form of discrimination, notably on account of skin colour, religion, ethnic or social origin,” said FIA president Jean Todt a year ago. “We must promote diversity in motor sport, and that is why we decided to give €1m in contribution to a new dedicated foundation created by Formula 1. That is a first step, and more will come.”

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That said, in its 117-year history the FIA has only ever been presided over by an elderly European male. History could well be made during presidential elections scheduled for December this year – Mohammed bin Sulayem from the United Arab Emirates has announced his candidacy – but during the recent FIA conference in Monaco the pointers were that current vice president for sport Graham Stoker will carry the vote later this year.

In its findings the Hamilton report states: “This work will only examine challenges around STEM and the motorsport industry specific to the UK, but we hope where possible, the recommendations and actions from the research will be replicable internationally.” The premise, though, assumes there is a global ‘fits-all’ solution, which there patently is not.

Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Silverstone, 2019
F1 says it wants a workforce as diverse as its fan base
For example, there are currently seven Formula 1 teams in the UK, two in Italy and one in Switzerland. Under current UK employment laws non-British citizens may not work in any of the teams lest some extremely stringent requirements are met. The remaining three teams are based in countries with similarly restrictive laws. Two of these are situated in European Union countries, and thus able to recruit EU citizens.

Thus, 70% of F1 employment opportunities are open to British workers regardless of their ethnicity, 20% to European Union passport holders and 10% to Swiss citizens – with few exceptions. It follows that nationals from around 170 countries are excluded from working in the sport they love purely on politico-economic grounds, regardless of colour, unless they have access to the ‘right’ passport.

As a South African with no ancestral rights my F1 journalism career, too, hinged on a spousal visa, one which enabled me to reside in the EU and later apply for citizenship there. Ten years ago I undertook a survey of “non-European nationals” working in F1 with a view to contributing an “anybody can work in F1” feature to a foreign publication.

I interviewed around 40 F1 employees – both paddock and team-based workers – born in non-European countries, mainly African, but the mix included Australian, Asian and Russian contingents – and with the exception of a few highly qualified individuals on ‘scarcity’ work permits I failed to identify a single F1 employee working in the sport and travelling only on a ‘foreign’ passport unless contracted to an off-shore entity. The rest of the ‘foreigners’ all held ancestral or spousal visas or dual nationalities.

I quickly realised that the feature would, if anything, prove precisely the opposite of that intended – namely that ‘not everybody can work in F1’ – so I called the commissioning editor and we canned it. Teams pride themselves on the number of nationalities they employ, yet statistics can deceive.

Against that background British and European citizens, including members of minority groups, are fortunate in at least having a shot at F1; a Congolese student, for example, has zero chance of working in one of 4,000 small and medium enterprises which comprise Britain’s motorsport ‘cottage industry’.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2019
Hamilton dwelled on lack of diversity he saw in photographs
That, more than any other factor, is why the report “estimates the proportion of black people in Formula 1 to be less than 1%.” Provide more opportunities for holders of African, Indian or Asian nationalities, and the mix will change dramatically.

The report makes a very good point by calling on the FIA “to add an exemption to [F1’s] cost cap that would exclude the salaries of new apprentice recruits from capped spend to encourage teams to take on new apprentices and provide training to young people”. But the fact is that in 70% of instances this would apply only to British nationals. Yet F1 is officially a world championship.

None of these points are aimed at trivialising the numerous findings in the meticulous report, rather to highlight the blatant inequalities that exist across global motorsport yet are excluded from the ambit of the commission. If anything, such employment restrictions devalue any motorsport world championship by excluding 75% of global citizens – regardless of ethnicity – from participating.

Equally, the report highlights the costs of competing in motorsport, citing annual budgets for karting at national level of around £30,000, per year. Whilst out of reach for most families, such figures are beyond comprehension for population groups outside of strong currency regions. If such budgets “are accessible to only the most affluent in [UK] society”, consider the obstacles faced by budding karters in emerging regions.

The Hamilton Report concludes that “Formula 1 is a no-compromise sport. Teams are fiercely competitive, and they only want to recruit the best. But this notion of what they consider to be the best is challenged in this report.

“Recruitment of engineering graduates from a small cluster of the UK’s highest ranked universities will no doubt result in highly mathematically able engineers, but these graduates exist elsewhere in the university sector.

Lewis Hamilton karting
Karting costs have rocketed since Hamilton’s day
“It is likely that graduates from black, lower socio-economic backgrounds will have demonstrated substantially higher levels of grit, resilience, and determination to achieve what they have achieved, compared to many of their more affluent white counterparts.”

That premise cannot and should not be challenged, but nor can the premise that these traits can apply equally to ethnic minorities from countries other than only Britain, and hence the need for the scope of the Hamilton Commission to be widened beyond Britain in order to investigate the considerable disadvantages and challenges faced by folk born outside of F1’s traditional heartland or Italy.

Understandably Lewis, as a Briton, is concerned by the situation in his own country and as such sponsored a study that is far wider and more comprehensive than most in the sport had envisaged, let alone imagined. Indeed, any cynicism that may have existed when he announced the establishment of the Hamilton Commission was rapidly allayed by its contents. For that he – and the commission – deserve none other than unbridled respect.

However, clearly the vast number of issues identified by the Hamilton Commission extend well beyond the UK and into the wider world of motorsport, but due to the various realities spelt out above many of the recommendations and actions from the research will not “be replicable internationally”, as the report had hoped.

Hence an urgent need for a comprehensive global study on all motorsport employment opportunities, rather than one focussing on diversity issues in a single country. For that reason alone the Hamilton Commission report, meritorious as it obviously is, does not go far enough.


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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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68 comments on “Why F1 needs a global equivalent of the Hamilton Commission’s report on diversity”

  1. Thanks for the article Dieter. The Anglo and Eurocentric nature of F1 definitely does not make it conducive to being a diverse formula at all. The chances of someone from Togo or Timor-Leste, or heck even Moldova or Latvia, to pursue a career in Formula One is vanishingly small.

    While the Hamilton commission os a good start, to be truly diverse you HAVE to go further. Intersectionality should be recognised, and the universality of inequity is an ill we need to overcome. The need to recognise that meritocracies are flawed because they do nothing to level a historically uneven playing field for opportunities must be fundamental to the sport.

    I would also appreciate better communication of the need for diversity, from first principles. This will prevent corporates and governments doing performative wokeness akin to putting a sustainable sticker on packed food. It will encourage more people to call out both lack of diversity and clearly shallow attempts at inclusiveness.

    Finally, all this needs to be contextualised and understood from the position of power and class struggle, while still being mindful of the nuances of all peoples and their histories.

    1. One of Hamilton’s Commissioners has some interesting comments about Travellers. So from first principles on diversity I do hope Hamilton takes immediate action on this.

    2. @aapje Ahh the doctor argument, that old chestnut. My grandfather died of a heart blockage due to the inaction of an upper caste Hindu doctor. I have had three botched dental surgeries by upper caste dentists. The one time it worked was by a female Muslim dentist. Does my anecdote prove something beyond doubt? No. Could it be indicative of a point favouring diversity. Possibly.

      I live in a country which has had historical caste, religion and gender-based discrimination, which date as far back as several hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, though they have changed in form in the intervening period. I’m well aware of the pitfalls of race-blind meritocracy, thank you very much.

      I’m not sure what studies convinced you that certain ‘groups’ are unable to take fuller advantage of opportunities that come their way. Meritocracy will fail unless you change housing laws in the US, or how you place whole foods vs fast foods stores in city neighbourhoods. And this is me just about scratching the surface.

      Affirmative action is a start and is necessary but not sufficient and fatal if invested in for the wrong reasons. Meritocracies on the other hand are dangerous because they pretend to be holistic when they are flawed in that they don’t ensure equal starting points for everyone involved.

      1. Great comment @wsrgo

      2. @wsrgo

        I live in a country which has had historical caste, religion and gender-based discrimination, which date as far back as several hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, though they have changed in form in the intervening period. I’m well aware of the pitfalls of race-blind meritocracy, thank you very much.

        You are confusing me immensely here. How has your experience with caste-based, religious and gender discrimination made you aware of the pitfalls of race-blind meritocracy? All of these forms of discrimination are anti-merit, as people are not judged by their abilities.

        Meritocracies on the other hand are dangerous because they pretend to be holistic

        A meritocracy is the opposite of holistic. It’s not about deciding who is best overall, but about who is best at a specific task. I’m starting to get convinced that you don’t understand what meritocracy actually means.

        Meritocracies on the other hand are dangerous because […] they don’t ensure equal starting points for everyone involved.

        Nothing can ensure equal starting points, not in the least because we are genetically different. If that is your standard, then any system will fail your standards. You are demanding an Utopian system, which cannot exist.

        1. Great comment, @aapje

        2. Nothing can ensure equal starting points, not in the least because we are genetically different. If that is your standard, then any system will fail your standards. You are demanding an Utopian system, which cannot exist.

          This is why meritocracy is an utopian system.

    3. @aapje The example you chose to cite hoping to be an example of “meritocracy” is not an example of meritocracy – unless you believe the specific people (not groups) that did well match up with those you believe have merit to do well.

      Deliberately leaving in features of the landscape that select for social climbing on grounds of ethnicity are, by definition, not meritocratic. Kindly refrain from pretending otherwise.

      * – There are several key inequalities missing from the analysis given, and the claim that non-WASP groups have ended up beyond (let alone far beyond) WASP groups in the end has been confirmed false many times.

      1. @alianora-la-canta

        The groups that do the best in the US seem to have very high academic expectations of their kids, a high willingness to sacrifice for their kids, a high willingness to save & invest money & low crime rates. A variety of evidence shows that the most successful groups do this the most. For example, the term ‘tiger mom’ was coined by someone from Chinese descent. Asian kids have disproportionate academic success. We also see that Asian migrants have a strong tendency to work long hours and to save a lot of the money they earn, to invest it in things like shops, rather than spend it on quality of life. Crime rates are very low.

        You can tell that this is a cultural trait, because similar behavior is visible in different countries. The Chinese and Japanese are very eager to save money and put a lot of pressure on their kids. We also see that Chinese migrants in non-Western countries tend to do very well. The Chinese in Indonesia are very successful, resulting in violence against them for doing so well, by groups that do worse. Similarly, there seems to be a lot of violence against Asians by black Americans, including an apparent recent rash of attacks where Asians get randomly assaulted.

        You only have to look at the government income data to see how well Asian Americans do. Their median household income is $86k versus $66k for white Americans vs $44k for African Americans. So the gap between Asians and whites is almost as large as the gap between whites and African Americans. This is despite Asian migrants coming from relatively poor countries, which made it impossible for them to benefit from generational wealth.

        The story for American Jews is very similar. A quarter of the richest Americans are Jews, even though they are a few percent of the population. They’ve historically been oppressed a lot and yet managed to overtake white gentiles. They’ve faced similar resentment that Asians have regularly faced, which resulted in the Holocaust.

        There are also white subgroups that historically did quite poorly and got discriminated against a lot, like the Irish and the Italians, that managed to achieve similar outcomes to white Americans of Anglo and Germanic descent, that did better initially.

        If the narrative were true that those in power and/or the majority puts up barriers that are impossible to scale without special benefits, then Asian Americans and American Jews could never have been so successful, as they never got those special benefits. So the narrative is false. It simply doesn’t match observed reality.

        Deliberately leaving in features of the landscape that select for social climbing on grounds of ethnicity are, by definition, not meritocratic.

        Where are those features? Most of the claimed mechanisms that supposedly throw up immense barriers for certain groups down fall apart upon scrutiny, for example, because they are equally applicable to groups that do way better.

        Note that most activists have now switched to terminology like ‘systemic discrimination,’ which is a vague catch-all term that doesn’t describe an actual mechanism and thus cannot be disproved. It is simply asserted, similar to how religious people can assert that God exists, but without being able to prove it. I require an actual mechanism and actual proof of its effects.

    4. Apparently, you may not discuss how the different cultures of different ethnic groups may contribute to different group-level outcomes, rather than discrimination…

    5. Whilst it is anglo and eurocentric, one also has to in some ways appreciate that without these origins there would not actually be any F1 at all. Sometimes it feels like some people (definitely not you of course) think it was all intentionally that way! Essentially F1 originated from post-war Europe: France, Germany, UK and Italy. Now is the time to move on, but indeed things have to go further. The very fact we’re talking here about it is basically thanks to Hamilton, even if he is a little wide of the mark imho.

    6. Idk, can’t complain about what they’re doing but good intentions etc. I think Togo and timor-leste have more pressing problems than producing f1 drivers and engineers. The whole thing is sort of a farce because f1, by definition, is just not a progressive sport and I don’t think this can be changed. Again, I hope these programs give access to people who wouldn’t have a chance otherwise, I’m not trying to discourage them, but the reason you don’t see f1 teams and drivers from Africa, much of Asia etc is because so many there can’t even afford a car, and access to motorsport will something of a manufactured problem for decades to come. It’s a bit like taking expensive furs to a homeless camp in winter, i won’t try to stop you but theres a bigger problem that needs to be addressed

  2. “Karting costs have rocketed since Hamilton’s day” is not a factual statement. Costs have gone up in some areas dramatically (mainly anything associated with the mythical ‘F1 ladder’) but also costs are remarkably cheap in other areas with the growth of things like 100UK, NKC, IKR and stuff like that.

    Hamilton didn’t start karting spending £30k+ a year. He started at club level with a second hand kart. This is still entirely possible today. I bought a full race kart for the price of a PS5

    1. @Alan Dove

      The problem might be that talent doesn’t get noticed and/or supported until they are already participating in the expensive series. In that case, you’d need to change that to make the higher levels more accessible.

      1. The higher levels of karting are fine. The problem is the influence of F1 and the inflationary pressure it puts on karting. F1 is what makes karting so exclusive. The sport itself, if it was left alone, would function well.

    2. Alan Dove, many people can’t afford a PS5 in the UK (the cheapest of which is in the £350 area, or about a week’s wages for a minimum-wage worker), and a second-hand kart in most FIA series will not allow the opportunity to run near enough the front of the grid to progress. That, and a second-hand kart requires transportation and a surprising number of Black people don’t have and cannot afford a car, let alone a karting trailer (series that only do one track don’t get sponsorship, even for winners, just one-off small prizes).

    3. 1. The f1 ladder, for many, especially in this context, is the only thing that matters. Also many can’t afford a PS5, especially one that needs to be refurbished Everytime you play it

      2. There’s so much more to it than material costs. I like Norris and am happy to see him succeed, but would he be where he is without a hundred millionaire dad who could dump 44 mil into ensuring he got test driver deals, coaching, and more?

    4. While I appreciate your sentiment Alan Dove, you are far wide of the mark. Purchasing a £1000 second hand kart to toddle around on a practice day without a karting licence (that is now 8 times more expensive than in LH time and requires a test before you even enter a £85 race entry fee to the RAC club you have already paid your annual fee to join. Oh and don’t forget the £25 per race parking bay fee.

      Clothing is five times dearer than back then. Around £2-400 for kit that is race legal Helmets can be cheap if your daft enough but a good one -£500

      Further, to race in recognised rRAC championships as opposed to a club level race you will require new scrutinised and mandated up to date equipment, sets of mandated tyres, marked race fuel (£150 – 25 litres) (tyres min £80-150 a set) for each race and practice, vast expenditure in wet tyres, spare chassis, spare engines and an astonishing amount of other equipment. No point in a backmarker wrecking your year because they hit you and bent your chassis, or a engine lets go is there?

      Then there is the transport issue…

      I was racing 250 Superkart on short circuits at the same time as Button and Hamilton (Superkart are super 4 as opposed to Super 1 – 4 wheel brakes up to 170mph with slicks and wings and gears as opposed to one rear brake no gears) my 1995 season cost me without kart (£10k) just over £16000. Super 1 Class A that year was an average of 15-20k)

      Yes you can do this as a cheap hobby and you may beat people at a local club meet but you still have the above expenditure even if you got a cheap kart which will be uncompetitive because it’s worn out and bent (chassis are designed for a season as they fatigue)

      (I won at Fulbeck in his first year and thus saw him as a black plate rookie in cadet run at the front from the back of a 40 kart grid and knew I was seeing something very different because, he like me had a roof rack and second hand equipment which I noticed and he was in a different league, he really was – his cadet class year produced a lot of other good racers so no fluke)

      What you won’t do is enter a RAC championship series where you will be seen, win races and compete for one of the top 10 plates without significant investment no matter what your talent is these days. That’s before you even look at European racing which has completely different requirements and is ten times dearer

      I also raced Europe rounds in long circuit spec later where the season excluding equipment etc was in excess of £50k for the long and short!

      It is significantly costlier than the average person sees looking on a auction site.

      1. My Rotrax cost 500, not £1000. I don’t need a licence to race it. Plenty of IKR clubs. I raced Cadets with Hamilton in 95/96.

        The problem we have with these kind of debates and pronouncements of cost is they NEVER go into detail. Karting is being blamed for motorsport’s problems. Except karting isn’t the problem, F1 IS the problem. Karting, as a concept, without F1 influence is fantastic and affordable. the 2013 World Karting Champion was a postman at the time. Danny Keirle won the 2017 World Champs. He isn’t a millionaire.

        1. Your rotax max at £500 will never get you noticed no matter what you do.

          Yes you absolutely do need a license to race in any meaningful way along with what I have detailed and you clearly are equating an outdoor leisure activity to something that is professional and requires professional funds and commitment.

          Please do not try to make people think this stuff is anything but and that £500 gets you to championships. It simply does not in the same way buying a pair of football boots with the same name as Ronaldo will not turn you a pro footballer.

          Go and watch a professional kart meeting somewhere other than Buckmore or similar and see what it requires.

          Also not racing within the rac or rac championship model at say Ladd is nothing other than a bit of fun.

          It’s that simple. By all means enjoy your kart but you are undertaking a hobby you are not committing to a career in racing.

        2. Oh and I not blaming karting. Just indicating that LH was right. It costs.

          How did you do with LH in 95/6 – ?

  3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    14th July 2021, 12:54

    “It is likely that graduates from black, lower socio-economic backgrounds will have demonstrated substantially higher levels of grit, resilience, and determination to achieve what they have achieved, compared to many of their more affluent white counterparts.”

    That premise cannot and should not be challenged

    As much as I want to believe that there are very suiting people for certain jobs that are not studying in a handful of high-profile universities, by stating that it is ‘likely’, it not exactly bringing proof to the table. Like I said: I’d like to think so too, but it’s more of a feeling than anything else. Saying that it cannot be challenged ‘because you simply are not allowed to’ is a rather weak argument.

    Regardles of that, I’m very curious to see what will actually change in this sport where, as you said, there is already this idea of ‘naturally we only go for the best regardles of color, religion etc’. Giving a handful of people (at least for now) a certain course to follow that will (hopefully) lead to a career in F1 is hopeful at best. If you see how very few individuals actually end up in the sport when they have the right papers (and are not already going towards a different line of work with good/better pay and a more fun/less stressful job), I honestly doubt that starting with very few in the lower levels of the course will lead to actual careers.

    What the FIA did (or is trying to do) with Women in Carts is also very commendable, but I fear that it’s nowhere near big enough on a scale to actually bring change later down the line.

    I’ve written it (in more detail) under several other articles as well, but I still stand by it: diversity for the sake of being able to parade with being diverse shouldn’t be a goal that one wants to achieve. If you can bring hard proof that the quality of something increases by being more diverse, than fair enough. I would argue that the best candidate for a job is the best regardless of any personal traits they cannot change (color etc.). And yes, you can counter-argue that not enough people from a certain group are tempted enough to persue a career in that line of work. But is that a problem and if so, one caused by the sport and one the sport has to fix?

    In a major city over here they’ve held the same experiment over the course of several decades. It’s goal was to become a better representation of the city inhabitants by only hiring people with a different cultural background than the countries. And every single time, the project ended in failure because there weren’t enough applicants. You cannot force people to persue a certain career if they do not want to. And yes, you could say ‘but with more rolemodels to look up to, maybe more of that group will persue’, but that’s a big maybe. To present it as if the current isutation is a problem that needs to be fixed (broken things must be fixed, something that isn’t broken doesnt need fixing) will naturally lead to a biased conclusion because you are not willing to accept that some things just are.

    It’s like any proper professor would say: if you are not bringing at least one argument to counter your research, you haven’t properly researched it.

    1. I don’t think the FIA are doing anything significant to get women into karts. They can’t even remember to mention karting has had a female world champion.

    2. @barryfromdownunder I think one proof of diversity being good is Ferrari itself. Their strongest period in F1 was when the team principal was French (Jean Todt), technical director was British (Ross Brawn), chief designer was South African (Rory Byrne) and the engine operations was overseen by two Italians (Paolo Martinelli and Stefano Domenicali). With their recent turn to look inwards in Italy, their available talent pool gets restricted. It’s quite logical as to the mechanism of how diversity leads to better performance. While people are unique, diversity allows a bigger pool plus a variation in perceptions, allowing better planning and management.

      1. That I covered in detail here: https://www.racefans.net/2020/07/15/ferrari-should-heed-this-lesson-from-its-greatest-era-diversity-delivers/

        However, although Rory was born in SA he held Irish nationality which facilitated his immigration. Thus Ferrari was overseen purely by European White males at the time.

        1. @dieterrencken fair dues, I think we need to consider a lot of different aspects when we look at diversity, not just nationality, but also race, religion, sex, orientation etc as well as nation specific stuff (like caste in India). My point was that hypothesising that diversity is directly proportional to performance is fair, based on anecdotal evidence and rational thought. There are studies which show hard data on this as well, though one suspects these studies should be commissioned and implemented by independent data and other scientific agencies and not the companies in question themselves since the latter are likely to pat themselves on the back and/or manipulate data based on their business focus and clientele.

        2. So what!?!? I got into F1 about 15 years ago and I never once have thought about someone’s racial or ethnic background, because it is irrelevant. Forced diversity just for the sake of it is obnoxious and insulting to all involved.

          Stop looking at “European White Males” as the antichrist or something. I don’t understand this mentality.

      2. @wsrgo Agree this would be a good example of beneficial diversity, but the word has changed meaning and no longer apply here.

      3. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        14th July 2021, 14:41

        Mising the point exactly as I tried to explain, fueled by this in a later one of your comments:

        My point was that hypothesising that diversity is directly proportional to performance is fair, based on anecdotal evidence and rational thought. There are studies which show hard data on this as well

        A: Proper studies regarding this subject performed by proper universities (or organizations) over a longer period of time do NOT exist. Literally every single time someone brings up these studies, it’s purely ‘there are studies that show it’, yet they don’t. Because, unlike something along the lines of ‘writing on a PC increased quality and productivity compared to using a typrewriter’, it’s something that is near impossible to compare. You cannot have the exact same 2 organizations with only 1 person or factor different over the same course and compare their value. Resulting in it being impossible to claim that diversity = better.

        The fact that you claim that it is however, based on ‘anecdotal evidence’ and ‘rational thought’, ‘backed up’ by these not-existing studies says it all. You can want something to be true and you can think or hope something is true, but you cannot cook up proof or deny any possibilities that it isn’t. There’s a chance Haas wins the race this weekend. Chances are very slim and definately not guanranteed, but it is possible.

        The article Dieter brought up could be seen as ‘look, we have some French people, some Brits, Italians and a South African meaning because of their nationality they are able to deliver more’, but isn’t it more logical that they were simply very good (if not the best available) at what they did because of their qualities? You’re arguing that turning inwards when it coems to nationalities would automatically equal less people to chose from and therefor ‘lesser’ people. You’re ignoring the fact that it is entirely possible for an organization to function perfectly, if not the best available without having people from more than a single country. However by your logic, that scenario is entirely impossible because there’s always a better person available in a different country.

        1. @barryfromdownunder Please read what I said carefully. I said to hypothesise from anecdotal evidence and rational thought is fair. That’s how science works. First you hypothesise then you go out and conduct an experiment to empirically test the hypothesis using hard data that you collect or you obtain from someone who has collected it. You reject the hypothesis if the likelihood of data given hypothesis is true is lower than 0.05 or 0.01 (frequentist p-value approach) or you could alternatively try a Bayesian approach.

          1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
            14th July 2021, 15:09

            Apologies, must’ve misread that.

            However that would imply that the report the comission gave out would actually be a hypothesis, but the response doesn’t really match the experiment-phase. It has been accepted as a fully concluded research from which to take lessons, not to see if it’s actually true.

          2. @wsrgo

            Note that a common mistake is to assume that the hypothesis has been proven to be true, if p beats the 0.05 threshold. However this goes against the paper that introduced the idea of using such a threshold, which merely claims that beating that threshold is sufficient to merit further investigation into the validity of the hypothesis.

            The threshold only guards (to some extent) against a specific scientific error. For example, if half of your socks are black and half are white, then picking random socks from the drawer can result in a very lop-sided outcome, by pure chance. The more socks you pick, the smaller the chance that the ratio of white and black socks that you picked, are very different from the ratio in the drawer. The more times you pick, the lower p gets, which reflects that the chance goes down that your findings are due to (bad) luck and don’t match the drawer’s contents very well.

            There are ways for scientists to intentionally or unintentionally produce a lower p with tricks that make the p no longer reflect the chance that a bad luck produced a wrong result. Journals often demand a low p, so scientists who do poor science in this way often get rewarded by having their papers be published, while better science is not published.

            Even worse, there are very many errors that this doesn’t guard against. For example, if the socks aren’t randomly placed in the drawer, but all white socks are to the left and black to the right & you only pick socks from the left, then you can conclude with a very low p that the drawer only has white socks, but your findings are very wrong, because you didn’t randomly pick a sock from the drawer.

            The replication crisis, where half the papers didn’t replicate using the same methodology, suggests that a huge number of papers has these kinds of errors. Note that replicating a paper using the same methodology still doesn’t mean that the outcome is reliable, since the methodology can have errors too. To really be confident, you need to investigate an issue in several, independent ways.

          3. @aapje Yes my friend, I know all too well about p-hacking and the failures of a purely frequentist approach in statistics. I am a wildlife and conservation biologist, I do need to use stats very often in my field if work. I also know that you shouldn’t automatically accept a hypothesis if the p value is less than the alpha threshold. You simplh fail to reject it successfully. Which is exactly what I said above. If p is greater than 0.05 you can generally reject the hypothesis, but I didn’t say anything about accepting. I was also explaining very concisely about the hypothetico-deductive method in layman terms, so didn’t feel the need to go into the details.

          4. @wsrgo

            I suspected so. I was mainly adding to what you said for other people.

        2. @barryfromdownunder, reading your comment – the part about Ferrari and the guys there being very good – the point of working towards greater diversity – be it of race, caste, class, gender or indeed place of birth as Dieter brings up, means that if you cast a wider net, you are far more likely to hit upon those excellent examples compared to a situation where you look only in a more limited sub-class of society to recruit team members.

          Just as you mention that it would be possible, but quite unlikely, for Haas to be good enough to win the race, it is far more likely to be able to field “The best team possible” when looking at a more varied base to pick them from.

          Also, I find your argument to be a bit contradictionary in itself (or maybe I just did not understand you?) – If you find that there are not enough people who apply for jobs in a city administration, wouldn’t that mean that rather than concluding that there is just no interest or skill within some part of the communities, there is a lack of proper education, scouting, support etc. to get all of them to a level where they can have the right education, afford to move to a new place, invest in themselves to participate etc?
          In other words, yeah, it IS going to take a lot of effort, AND a lot of time to get there.

          BTW. I think the criteria you mention for studies in your post below is a nice way of saying “impossiblesouce”, since because to expect multiple universities, in multiple countries to be able to get funding to study such large groups of people at the same time for a time that is endless with regards to getting grants is completely unrealistic.

          The only studies that I know of that follow large groups of people, for longer times, and do so in multiple countries and work together to get relatively comparable sets of data are studies of twins that run for about 2-3 decades now in about 5-6 countries. But even then, they won’t have anywhere near the depth of information about the lives of the people they follow available.

      4. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        14th July 2021, 14:46

        And as an adition to my post, please do link me those studies you speak of. Following the rules of what counts as a proper study obviously:
        – Held over a period of more than 10 years
        – Performed over a large group of participants (1000+) in multiple countries
        – Performed by a university or organization known for performing proper studies, preferably performed by experts with previous experience in that field.

        I believe the minimum requirement for literature study is 10+ papers on the matter?

      5. @wsrgo Ferrari hasn’t really looked “inwards in Italy” though. Most of their leadership and senior staff isn’t Italian. Elkann is an American, Binotto has Italian parents but was born and grew up in Switzerland, Clear is English, Mekies is French, Rueda is Spanish. Cardile and Togninalli are indeed Italian. Meanwhile, pretty much everyone except Wolff at Mercedes is English. It doesn’t seem to hurt them to have a single-source for their staff.

      6. @wsrgo

        the engine operations was overseen by two Italians (Paolo Martinelli and Stefano Domenicali).

        Domenicali was Ferrari sporting director, he has nothing to do with engines. Paolo Martinelli right hand man was Gilles Simon who was of French nationality.

    3. @barryfromdownunder Short of someone managing to come up with a testable, scientific, repeatable test of the qualities cited (unlikely, given that after over 110 years of trying, we don’t have a reliable one of those for verbal intelligence yet), “likely” is as close as you will get – because it’s using the “most reasonable interpretation of available evidence” meaning of “likely”.

      Challenging it would require either the sort of evidence compatible with an alternative reading of the evidence – or a testable, scientific, repeatable test of the qualities cited.

    4. “only hiring people with a different cultural background than the countries”

      I believe that kind of positive discrimination isn’t what is being argued for by Hamilton or by this report. To his credit, he is going to the root of the problem which is the uptake of science and technology subjects. Whilst it’s true that his focus should be much wider than black communities in the uk, in my opinion all of his actions at least have started a debate on the subject if nothing else. We wouldn’t be writing and commenting on it here had he not done anything.

  4. While Hamilton is throwing his backing behind studies he’s obviously passionate in, perhaps he could Commission a study into why Caucasians are under represented in basketball and how greater diversity in the sport can be achieved.

    1. @Homerlovesbeer pleased though I am to see that you think people from the Caucasus are underrepresented in basketball I think the number of players from Armenian and Georgian extraction is probably actually, if anything, over-representative given our relative population sizes.

      (on a serious note it’s a Victorian eugenecist term to call white people Caucasian because Blumenbach was creepily obsessed with a skull he found in Georgia and thought was beautiful and I wish people wouldn’t do it)

      1. Touché Hazel :-)

      2. The modern usage reflects the weird American system of racial/ethnic categorization, where Hispanic and Caucasian are separate categories, but where about half of the Hispanics in the US identify as white. So when people want to distinguish between the people who migrated from Europe to the US and those that migrated from Spanish-speaking countries to the US, they can’t use the term white.

        However, in this context, white would also work, as there is also a distinct lack of Hispanic players in the NBA.

        PS. Interestingly, American employers are required to report the race/ethnicity of their employees. If the employee refuses to answer, the employer is required to guess.

        1. @aapje In the UK, the system largely gets round this using the two-word system (mostly Colour Geography), with the expectation of overlap among second-(or subsequent-)generation immigrants (as in, they may say they’re [Colour Original Location] or [Colour British] and in both cases be correct.

          Employers and government agencies (including the census) are required to record the ethnicity of anyone who doesn’t tell them their ethnicity as “Unknown” – guessing is forbidden.

          1. @alianora-la-canta

            If you don’t use both colour and geography, you can get into the situation that Elon Musk is in. Technically, he is the richest African American, even though he is clearly not part of the group that people tend to refer to when they say African American.

            In The Netherlands, we have an aversion to recording race, because this data was used to facilitate the Holocaust. We mostly just use the geographical indication. Moroccan, Turkish, Surinamese, etc. Before this American ideology started colonizing us, the focus was on primarily on ethnicity, not so much race.

      3. Way to misrepresent his words in order to ignore what he’s actually saying:

        1- Does this pursue of “equity” applies to all or even most professions where there is a discrepancy in representation? or is it conveniently ignored when the minority happens to be white/caucasian?
        2- What happens when there’s small to no interest from the unrepresented population to apply whether it’s because of lack of natural inclination, interest, talent, etc?
        Are we going to convince them by force or manipulation so we the bureaucrats can maintain their diversity quotas (and their jobs)?, and in turn oppress those that are actually naturally interested/inclined/talented to pursue that activity, and tell them something like “sorry we cannot take you in, you more than have what it takes, but it happens that you belong to the wrong group (gender, color, ethnicity, what-not…)”

    2. @homerlovesbeer On the other hand, people from the Causcaus are underrepresented in motorsport (certainly at the senior level) and there’s probably an interesting study to be done about that element of inequality.

      1. Lol I can’t win. If I’d have said white I’m sure I would have copped flak as well. I mean according to the dictionary “white-skinned; of European origin” but hey, whatever

    3. Philip Taylor
      15th July 2021, 10:22

      Ignoring the “Caucasian” issue for a moment, my suggestion would be for YOU to start a commission if that’s something you feel passionate about. SLH has initiated a piece of work to investigate an issue that is very close to his heart. Sarcastically suggesting that doing so is somehow invalid because it is not addressing something that is of interest to you (although I have doubts about how much you actually care about it) just makes you look like a fool, not Hamilton.

  5. I’m fine with it as long as it’s not just diversity just to tick a box. The people that come to work in F1 should be the best at what they do and show a desire to be there more than other candidates.

    1. @lejimster82 Exactly my thoughts. There is a huge difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome that most people seem to be unable to recognize. Inequality of outcome does NOT necessarily imply inequality of opportunity.

    2. Yes, people will be promoted beyond where they should be so the company can be seen as “inclusive”.

    3. John Toad (@)
      14th July 2021, 20:36

      To work in F1 the first thing you need is a burning passion to work in F1.
      Most people regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality simply don’t have this.

  6. I quickly realised that the feature would, if anything, prove precisely the opposite of that intended – namely that ‘not everybody can work in F1’ – so I called the commissioning editor and we canned it.

    This exemplifies a problem I have with journalism. Very often, the goal is to find evidence for a predetermined narrative. Then when the facts don’t cooperate, the journalist doesn’t change his story to follow the facts and tell the readership the truth, but the story gets canned.

    1. The story was told – see above, just not in the original magazine.

      1. @dieterrencken

        That still means that the readership of the magazine didn’t get to read your findings, as they went against the intended narrative, while if your findings were different, the magazine would have published it. Such selective publishing results (in general) in some truths not being published as often, only getting published for a smaller audience, or not getting published at all.

        If I’m not mistaken, a lot of writers for magazines get paid by how many words are actually published. If that was true in your case, there was a strong incentive to write a story that supports the desired narrative if that is in any way possible, even if that is not a fair reflection of the findings by the reporter. After all, then the writer will get paid.

        Anyway, this wasn’t so much intended as criticism of you, but more a remark on how a lot of reporting seems to work, but shouldn’t, in my opinion. In fact, that you are open about this, speaks in your favor.

  7. That’s a polite way of saying it

  8. The ‘€1m in contribution’ the FIA talks about is laughable. As Toto Wolff explained earlier this year ‘a good go-karting season costs 250,000, an F4 season 500,000, and an F3 season 1 million.’ Money is the single biggest obstacle anyone has. Even one step down in to F2 you can find Indians, Russians, Chinese, Brazilians, Israeli’s and more drivers from nationalities that don’t tend to make it into F1.

    If Hamilton & co. were to invest their ridiculous salaries for even just the 2021 season into a fund to help support young drivers they’d be able to pay for the entire junior careers of multiple grids full of drivers. Money is by far the most important thing. It’s no surprise that F1 continues to be full of sons of millionaire’s and even billionaires, and otherwise financially very well off business owners. ‘Poor’ (as in: not really, but by comparison) families like those of Räikkönen or Vandoorne having a kid make it to F1 is very rare, no matter the other characteristics of said drivers.

    1. I think Hamilton has shown in the last decade that the majority of the money and other resources he ‘invests’ is to support disadvantaged children, not being a ‘rich uncle’ for someone who has a talent to drive fast cars.

  9. isthatglock21
    14th July 2021, 16:44

    Great write up Dieter, some great points. Equally I’ve just had a look through this report and I am blown away, much more than I anticipated. Sad that F1 didn’t have a greater role in this as the outcomes and victory lap from the PR could be immense. What better way to showcase to the world after a tough year in many respects just how corporations can look within to do better, this report is a great starting point as the aim was to understand then offer suggestions, which clearly have had good uptake. F1 missed a trick. Equally I understand why Lewis often felt so empowered during interviews etc, I think personally even just from a business/management perspective from being in these commission meetings he’s gained a lot from it. Maybe Lewis should consider a career as a non exec/semi project lead at the big consultancy firms like McKinsey & Bain when he retires. A better report than many I’ve seen in the corporate world which usually cost an arm and a leg and always arrive late.

  10. Holy cow, please, give me a break.
    F1 is the absolute elite of motorsport. Nobody cares about your gender, skin color, se_ual preferences as long as you are one of the best in your job.
    Equality of opportunities, rather than equality of outcomes, should be pursued and I’m sorry, the Ham commission is useless.
    Except for boosting its founder’s ego.

    1. +1 on that.

      As I have already stated last year, when the rainbow logos were deployed as the insta-kill solution against racism: It’s such a complex question that it just cannot be solved with such idealistic and simple answers. Also, pushing for diversity in racing (or at any workplace, truth be told) leads only to a fake, shallow, enforced and artificial diversity, good enough for marketing only.

      I might be a horrible person, but I’m not thrilled about programmes to promote drivers with certain backgrounds into the sport. I’m afraid that any programme dedicated for non-whites, non-male, non-straight, etc. drivers can only result in someone eventually getting a racing seat for something besides talent at the expense of some guy who also has talent, but happens to be straight & white. Isn’t that kind of the same thing we don’t like about pay drivers?

  11. I guess nobody realises how offensive this is to people who are of an “ethnic minority”. This is basically telling me, I am not good enough so I need a program to get into F1? Pathetic.

    If me or anyone who is lets say, “ethnically disadvantaged” had a burning passion to work in F1 or racing in general, then you’d have to make an effort. It easier said than done, but if your desire is such, it can be done.

    Look at Ayao Komatsu, isn’t he a minority? Why isn’t he put on a pedestal?? There isn’t a whole lot about him on the internet, but from what I’ve gathered, his story is pretty cool, he did not get into F1 via any of the big Japanese manufacturers. He made his own way. Considering he comes from the other side of the planet from a non English speaking country, with a very different culture. How about Karun Chandhok and Narain Kathikeyan, two kids from Coimbatore who made it to F1?

    Did it ever occur to people that perhaps the “ethnically disadvantaged” aren’t very interested in F1? Trust me, the vast majority of people in the world (regardless of ethnicity), aren’t actually too bothered with racing, they have better things to do, like feeding, clothing and housing their families.

    People associated with F1 have this inflated view of it, its a bubble, realise this. The assumption that people need to be enticed to come to F1 based on the ethnicity to tick some fanciful box that appeases the Instagram wielding populace is just arrogance. I am fed up with people telling me that I am oppressed in one way or another, when I am not. If you want to help, go campaign in countries that actually actively oppress certain segments of their populations.

    1. Well said, but it makes the lefties feel better about themselves, so your rational, logical argument will just be met by scorn.

  12. Lewis has very low self awareness. He does not realise that if Anthony Hamilton, d.b.a. “Dad”, was not mad for motorsport and F1 then he would not be racing Mini Coopers never mind be an F1 world champion. The same is true (environment matters) for Lance Stroll, which makes the point.

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