Hamilton and Mercedes launch Ignite charity to promote diversity in motorsport

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have announced the creation of a new UK-focused charity backed by a multi-million pound fund to promote diversity in motorsport.

In brief

Ignite charity launched to promote motorsport diversity

Following the publication of his commission’s report on why black people are poorly represented in Formula 1, Hamilton and his Mercedes team have announced the creation of a new charity to act on its recommendations. Ignite will focus on promoting science, technology, education and mathematics to under-represented groups in motorsport.

“Diverse workforces are not only more successful but are also the morally correct approach for any industry,” said Hamilton. “The findings of The Hamilton Commission have provided us a fantastic base to begin our work, and I am confident that Ignite will result in real, tangible change within motorsport. For 15 years, I have remained one of the few Black employees within Formula 1, and I am proud that my work with Mercedes is going to change that for the better.”

Alonso has silenced comeback doubters for good – Alpine

Fernando Alonso’s performance in recent races has proved beyond doubt he was right to return to Formula 1 this year, says the team’s executive director Marcin Budkowski.

“I think Fernando has now silenced for good whoever doubted his return would be a success,” said Budkowski. “His speed is still there, and his race craft is second to none, as we saw once again in both races last Saturday and Sunday. He will no doubt continue pushing himself and the team as the season goes on.”

Alfa Romeo set up Fan Zone at Hungaroring

Alfa Romeo will run a special Fan Zone throughout all three days of track action at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. The team say it will “heavily feature fan favourite Robert Kubica“, their reserve driver, who will participate in ‘meet and greet sessions’ via videoconferencing.

The attraction, located in the Silver Fan Zone, will also feature team equipment and memorabilia, plus “life-sized cut-outs of Robert for fans to pose with”, said the team. Competitions will be held for fans to win exclusive Alfa Romeo merchandise.

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Will we inevitably have a field of similar-looking F1 cars in 2022?

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Any drastic innovations by teams will be shut down by the FIA, because of “cost savings” or they are “moveable aerodynamic devices”.

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On this day in motorsport

  • 25 years ago today Andre Ribeiro – who died earlier this year – won the CART Indycar Michigan 500. Emerson Fittipaldi suffered a heavy crash which led to his retirement.

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  • 54 comments on “Hamilton and Mercedes launch Ignite charity to promote diversity in motorsport”

    1. “Diverse workforces are not only more successful but are also the morally correct approach for any industry,” said Hamilton”

      I’m sorry, but I am really over this agenda bring pushed so hard and I do not believe in actively seeking to fulfill set diversity targets. Morally correct? Get a grip Hamilton.

      I really think it’s bordering on reverse discrimination if somebodyvis employed over another simply because they happen to have the right ethnicity or gender.

      The only thing that really should matter is the best qualified man or women for the role is employed be that white, black, Asian, African, man, woman, etc etc.

      Artificially trying to “diversify” a workplace is a load of rubbish and creates a culture of entitlement, for example I’m black so give me the job and if you don’t, well you must be racist.

      1. I think the idea is more to provide people from diverse backgrounds with the support needed to gain the qualifications and expertise to be genuinely represented. Unfortunately where you’re born and what you look like still has far too much influence and changing that can only be a good thing.

        1. Absolutely agree, qualification and talent should be supreme. I kinda hate people are assoiating themselves with race instead of jusy a fellow humam being. I think the reason being like you said trying to do reverse discrimination in the garb of “diversification”. I never associated myself as brown , always as Indian, work with Americans. What needs importance is the wealth gap between rich and poor and fixing it without being socialist.

        2. provide people from diverse backgrounds with the support needed to gain the qualifications and expertise to be genuinely represented

          Undoubtedly, and admirably, that’s the idea.

          But then please refrain from stating that the outcome is ‘morally’ correct.
          Work on removing barriers; don’t create new ones.

          1. There is no absolute morality – I know Hamilton is religious and/or spiritual so likely believes that there is – a point also pushed by 7th day adventists to vegans, which he is also, so he’s doubly likely to believe that there is.

            But there’s not!

            1. Fully agree in this case, and that’s why he should’ve refrained from what the ‘morally correct approach’ is.
              I though (just speaking for myself) find it acceptable, and even admirably, if somebody calls racism morally incorrect (I wonder if there are still people who disagree).

              PS I wonder what Hamilton’s morality compass tells him about he fact that the average remuneration of Black employees in Mercedes F1 Team (and probably the whole sport) is significantly higher than the average remuneration of employees with different backgrounds.

      2. @homerlovesbeer

        This statement is bordering on ignorant and has an undertone of a 1970s Britain attitude of “these coloured people are going to take our jobs”. Regardless if they manage to diversify this workforce with talented people from all over the world, people like yourself will strive to make them uncomfortable to have that opportunity and ultimately force them out.

        I understand you took time to put this rant together but …

        No such thing as reverse discrimination.
        Seeking to educate people who don’t have the same opportunities as other is not discrimination (or reverse discrimination) or a moral question.

        I just wish people like yourself educated yourself before putting this negative energy out here. It really does affect people more than you know.

        1. Much better put than I could ever put it lsh.

        2. Thanks Ish, well said.

        3. Dey tuk ur jurbs!!

        4. Broccoliface
          28th July 2021, 12:45

          Load of twaddle, most of these team members are from the UK, and everyone in the UK is entered in the same educational system with the same potential pathways.

          1. everyone in the UK is entered in the same educational system

            Well apart from the public (private) schoolers who end up over-represented at Oxbridge (I know, I went there) and then move on to prestige careers. The ‘system’ is heavily skewed still in favour of wealth and, as numerous reports have shown, heavily underrepresents and disfavours those from poor and/or ethnic minority backgrounds. Indeed these inequalities in access have worsened over recent years.

            1. @david-br

              “over-represented at Oxbridge (I know, I went there)”

              Er, which one – because Oxbridge doesn’t exist?

            2. @Simon Oxbridge refers to the both oxford and cambridge. It doesn’t matter for his statement which one he attended, since in that context he was referring to both.

              @david-br Well said, and that is the kind of imbalance that the Ignite charity is seeking to address. The people whining about positive discrimination and such are as usual, either intentionally or otherwise missing the point of what these organisations are trying to achieve. It’s not about meeting quotas, it’s about laying the groundwork so that when it comes time for people from less advantaged backgrounds to apply for positions within a company, they have the necessary education and support to compete on even terms.

            3. @keithedin Exactly, I think one of the crucial elements is providing support for post-16s to progress on to higher education. It’s a really critical stage when talented students can be properly informed about the options available to them and given support towards applying and winning places in higher education or in the industry. I ended up at Oxford almost by accident, applying at the last moment on a whim, with no support from my state school – it was only on arriving there that I realized there was an entire (public) school industry geared towards getting students to Oxbridge or other Russell Group universities. That’s part of what I mean by the pathways not being equal in practice for everyone. The colleges themselves (many of them anyhow) recognize the issue but the educational system is heavily skewed to overrepresent certain income and ethnic groups.

        5. @Ish

          No such thing as reverse discrimination.

          Funding a program that specifically reaches out to, and then provides extra educational and occupational opportunities only to people of certain skin colors is absolutely discrimination. The “reverse” part has nothing to do with it.

          1. If a group already suffers from discrimination in terms of “educational and occupational opportunities”, then offering funding and help to that group to overcome that discrimination isn’t discrimination.

          2. Funding a program that specifically reaches out to, and then provides extra educational and occupational opportunities only to people of certain skin colors to make up for the relative lack of opportunities they’d otherwise have is absolutely not discrimination.

            There, fixed it for you.

      3. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        28th July 2021, 8:44

        You’d be surprised to know that there are countries in the world (like mine) which have specific percentage of positions in institutions (educational or otherwise) to be given to people belonging to certain caste and creed. These positions aren’t extra, rather they take up a chunk of the total allotment of that specific institution.

        The only thing that really should matter is the best qualified man or women for the role is employed

        Isn’t followed everywhere.

        1. Tokenism is never a solution and usually makes things worse. That being said, look what he’s said he wants to do – get people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the uk to get qualified – that’s the way to end tokenism, so, if done right should lead us to where we all want to get too – equal opportunity for all kids, no matter the background.

          1. Actually he says underrepresented groups, not ethnic minorities- even better!

    2. So an extra separate Sakhir race is more likely than Losail, after all.

    3. That diversity program, is strickly for black people? Or also for muslims, females, transgender people? To name a few. Lewis fauls to mention those every time and isn’t being very inclusive

      1. Agreed. There has been a tendency for HAM to conflate ‘black’ to mean non-white… And famously of course ignored ALB last year when saying he was the only non-white driver. Not to even mention the long history of Hispanic and Japanese drivers, plus a fair few Asian drivers overall.
        Diversity should be diversity in all areas, but to give benefit of the doubt, he did insist female drivers be included on an equal footing in extreme e. It does seem that like all of us, he has some room to learn and grow.

        1. He is using this as some kind of political statement, where the black population has the strongest voice, is the largest group and for him the easiest way to ‘score’ so to speak. It’s too bad a lot of people are to narrowminded or too big of a Lewis (as a sporstman) fan to see this happening, and i don’t care that you guys are THAT salty. It’s great that Lewis started the discussion, but being openminded about it he is not. Yes, i do believe Lewis did great with it, but now he is lacking bigtime in following up now he got some traction going on with it. But i think FIA *is* openminded and inclusive to everybody and all groups.

      2. Are you reading something different to us? It says ‘under-represented groups and ‘diverse workforce’. He references black in relation to himself.

      3. GtisBetter (@)
        28th July 2021, 9:00

        A guy does his best to work on a diversity issue in motorsport and you accuse him of not solving all the diversity problems in motorsport? With that negative attitude nothing would get done in the world and nobody would get help. All change takes time and usually is done in steps. We have the W-series to focus on woman drivers and now we have a Mercedes/Hamilton initiative to adress the lack of diversity. This can only be good and create positive change for everybody.

      4. @cdfemke The inclusion of transgender people within motorsport is all very well and not an issue in some roles. The big issue with transgender is that there are many countries, where quite simply it would too be physically too dangerous for them. Countries such as Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, it is pretty much illegal to enter as a transgender person. Even in the UK a transgender person faces adversity on a daily basis in some areas.

        1. There might be a few transgenders in the workforce in motorsport, but so are some other races and believes. Somebody like Lewis *should* speak out about it, just because of mentioned big issue, because of countries where these workers can’t travel along with the rest, or be themselves. Countries like Abu Dhabi en Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be raced if the people making the races possible aren’t welcome there. A strong voice like Lewis could change things, but he chose to go for the easy win, not the principle. And that’s weak.

          1. That’s pretty harsh to call Lewis weak. I think admirable would be a much better description. There are 19 other drivers on the grid. Why should all responsibility fall to Lewis? Of course he’s going to pursue improvements for the lives of people he can relate to as that was his experience growing up. Good on him for making a difference.

    4. No mention of the launch of Hamilton’s own charity Mission44, given that ‘the joint charitable initiative between Hamilton and his Mercedes team will also feature under Mission44 and be called Ignite.’


    5. I think it’s fantastic that this is happening. There is a massive problem with racism and gender equality in Formula 1, and sadly it’s actually taken way too long to do anything about it.
      There will be lots of comments like “it’s discrimination to favour the minority groups and jobs should go to the best qualified”, and this is just plain ignorance. There is always a scale of privilege growing up, and those who have a greater privilege have an advantage (better education/better funding) so it’s highly likely they’re the ones who will get the qualifications to become engineers etc. Unfortunately, privilege isn’t evenly spread across minority groups. What the charity/Hamilton is trying to do is give people who are at the bottom of this privilege scale a more equal chance.
      In the long run it will be great for Formula 1 as the quality of engineers and other roles will get higher, as the available pool of talent gets larger. It’s a similar situation to drivers, there’s such a small amount of people who have the chance to become an F1 driver, we may have missed many other Lewis Hamiltons/Max Verstappens/Michael Schumachers throughout history because they never got the chance.
      Sadly there will be quite a lot of opposition to this, but if it can make a difference and a change I think it will actually be a greater accomplishment for Hamilton than the world titles

      1. There isn’t a massive problem. This is just virtue signalling Lewis and his race baiting agenda. Goodness knows he could work for the BBC if he wanted to.

    6. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      28th July 2021, 11:17

      Interesting timing from Hamilton and Mercedes, just like with the aftermath of the British GP. Doesn’t take a genius to see that they’re trying to make Red Bull seem like the bad guys going after such a ‘humble and inclusive’ team and person.

      1. Whilst to some extent I think Lewis does this to glorify himself (he does seem to need everyone’s eyes just to feel seen) in the end he works on and for a good cause so lets support him

    7. I think RB have not needed anyone’s help in making themselves look like the bad guys since last weekend. But I must admit spending months of planning, arranging a launch weeks in advance, and notifying people early about a launch date for two separate charities to take place a few hours before RB notified anyone about a protest is truly visionary in the extreme. Bit daft though to commit £20 million plus of your own money to make RB look bad when ‘Karen from RB’ has been trending all week across social media.

      1. Obviously just another example of his supernatural good luck

    8. Pardon me for being a life-long cynic but there are already hundreds of charities doing precisely this, including his own “Lewis Hamilton Foundation” that he setup in 2008.

      If he actually wanted to help disadvantaged people then nothing’s stopped him putting £20m into this or any of the alternatives. Note his foundation has actually been dormant since 2017.

      The fact is, charity work is expensive and enormously time consuming. It doesn’t tend to suit the arrogant and selfish sportsman (don’t doubt it, they all are).

      My expectation is that this is largely a PR announcement and is what he’s planning to do post-retirement, carefully aligned alongside his inevitable Mercedes ambassador role.

      1. Or he could get involved in charities like The Harlem Zone, Renaissance, Mulberry Trust (maybe Merc could start a STEM Academy?), Honeypot, GOSH, etc.? Maybe a dozen or so others that specialise in helping disadvantaged children. A child’s hospice? Then get 10 or 15 years under his belt doing that before being appointed by the UN as Amb for Education?
        And maybe then hire one of the worlds top charity organisers to set up and launch the charity. That lady who organised the One Love Manchester concert after the bombing and other major charity initiatives funded by top sportsman and media stars would be ideal. Penni Throw?
        Then put your £20 million start up (along with a barrow load of cash from sponsors) into that charity. And then this joint Ham/Merc initiative can go under that umbrella?

        1. Exactly…and then maybe help someone at some point.

          1. Thats a good idea. Maybe fund young carers, visit them, talk to them on zoom during the lockdown. Invite a group of them every year as special guests at Silverstone. That sort of thing. Although isn’t there a driver who already does that?
            Maybe do the same for injured vets. You never know, do it on a regular basis and you could end up as First Amb. Invictus Games.

    9. Being dutch I’m not one with an expert in the troubles of people in the UK in this regard, but looking at the global picture and the domestic situation in the Netherlands I can only applaud these measures. Linking this to PR or a crash with a certain RB driver is cynical to the extreme. There can not be enough of these initiatives when paid for with private money, and I hope it will be a huge success.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        28th July 2021, 14:33

        Linking this to PR or a crash with a certain RB driver is cynical to the extreme

        Just wait till you have a few years of working in a big corparation under your belt. You’ll get it then

      2. Some people just wanna see the World burn, if any person does something nice, people will still moan.

    10. I love Hamilton but DAMN this makes me sad yet happy!

      Happy that we bring more ethnic minorities to the table – always a good thing!
      However, I notice the him use the word “Black” to encompass a whole host of minorities such as myself.
      He may as well want every ethnic minority but lets state it like that please! I am a Pakistani Muslim who seldom deals with ignorant racism in the workplace. I would like to work in F1 one day too. But the perception now seems like there is an unequal social-media/forefront push for African-descent individuals in F1 instead of other minorities like me because of the report. Makes me just a tiny sad.

      Either way, I cant get too angry. I know that teams are working towards increase inclusivity for people from all over, even if they state it or not so I am still UBER happy about this commission. So lets see what comes of the report and try to be positive! F1 is getting to a better place day by day.

    11. Umm a black from the ghetto and a white from the trailer parks… Only the black can get a scholarship? If that’s the case that’s straight up racism

    12. Spending lots of money to make it easier for certain British people to work in motorsport will worsen the underrepresentation of non-Brits…

    13. The closet racists are really out on this one…

      1. Surprised the classic ‘ Iam not racist but…’ hasn’t popped up.

      2. Yea, don’t tell them but the first building block of this particular initiative was launched last Nov and the Mercedes backed STEM Academy has been up and running since the beginning of the year.
        Here are a few of the forty students who are ‘taking their jobs’.


    14. It will become harder and harder for the FIA to restrict new developments on cost grounds now they have a cost cap in place, lest they suggest their cost cap system is ineffective. Hopefully we may see more interesting developments in some areas as a result.

      The only real ground the FIA have on banning a development now is safety, a rather higher bar to clear I believe.

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