Hamilton and Mercedes partnership announces first diversity grants

2022 F1 season

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A partnership set up by Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team to help promote diversity and inclusion in motorsport has announced its first grants.

The Ignite Partnership was formed last year in order to promote inclusion of more people from under-represented backgrounds in motorsport, including women and people of colour.

The first two grants awarded by the Ignite Partnership will be granted to Motorsport UK in support of the FIA Girls on Track programme and to the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The grant to Motorsport UK is aimed at helping to expand the Girls on Track programme, designed to help increase representation of students from minority ethnic and economically disadvantages backgrounds in the British motorsport industry. The Ignite Partnership grant is expected to help expand the programme’s reach to 8,000 girls and young women aged from eight years old to 24.

The second grant to the Royal Academy of Engineering will establish a engineering masters degree scholarship programme for 10 black students over the next two academic years. Selected students will receive £25,000 to pay for tuition and living costs, with the aim that 90% of graduates will have earned employment in motorsport and Formula 1 within two years of graduation.

Hamilton said the recent coverage of racist comments made by F1 world champion Nelson Piquet demonstrated why the partnership’s grants to encourage greater diversity in motorsport were so needed.

“I’m very proud to see Ignite announcing our first two grants today,” said Hamilton. “There has been a lot of work behind the scenes since launching and I’m delighted that Mercedes and I can continue to demonstrate our commitment towards creating a more diverse industry in this way.

“We chose these grants because they focus on supporting individuals from two crucial and under-represented demographics, moving us towards our goal of increasing the number of women and black talent in the sport. The events of this week have shown us why there continues to be an urgent need to push for better representation in our industry.

“More than ever we must focus on how we can use action to change motorsport for the better and this is an exciting next step.”

Mercedes F1 team principal, Toto Wolff, said the two announced grants demonstrated a “meaningful contribution” towards the partnership’s goals of increasing representation in motorsport.

“From inspirational motorsport events and experiences that will show the power of possibility to thousands of girls and young women in the UK – to academic support for some of the brightest and best black engineering students in the country – we intend for each initiative to make a tangible contribution to building a more diverse and inclusive motorsport industry,” said Wolff.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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14 comments on “Hamilton and Mercedes partnership announces first diversity grants”

  1. When a philanthropist tried to set up a scholarship scheme for poor white boys (the worst academic achievers in the UK) it was blocked by a tsunami of invective claiming it was racist because the boys were white.

    But here Hamilton and Mercedes are setting up a scholarship scheme for black students and it is seen as “progressive”.

    Surely the world is going bonkers.

    1. I suggest you should first study the concept of Affirmative Action before criticising this initiative.

    2. Raymond Pang
      30th June 2022, 13:50

      Now you see you missed the point entirely.

      The problem with the scheme targeting poor white boys is that it’s for white people only, i.e. the majority. The poor bit is fine because that’s the disadvantage that needs the playing field levelling. The white bit doesn’t.

      The scheme to target black people makes sense because it targets the black bit, which is the disadvantage.

      This is a prime example of the “White loves matter too” and “All loves matter” mentality.

      1. Raymond Pang
        30th June 2022, 13:51

        Typo. Lives, not loves.

    3. Witan – you forgot to mention that the other grant is to the FIA Girls on Track scheme, benefiting economically disadvantaged and ethnic minority women.

    4. buUt YoOU hAVe wHiTe pRiVeLaGE

  2. Is race a matter of birth or choice, legally speaking? I’m genuinely curious. We saw what happened with gender and how people started exploiting flaws in the system to declare false gender to yield benefits. And what does diversity cover anyway, we’re all different in so many ways… I think that autistic people (and may similar conditions) need much more inclusion, whilst colour of your skin doesn’t make you any less able to fight for yourself. I don’t mean to say that this is wrong or bad (but it is flawed, the way its usually done, with quotas like in communism), just that most people fight only for their own interests and their “own people”, and those groups that suffer the worst maltreatment and get the least opportunities have no one to speak on their behalf. Is F1 going to address that? Sure, most (not all) autistic people couldn’t compete in F1, but there are many job opportunities. Also the last person in a wheelchair I saw in F1 was mr. Williams, and he had to be a team owner to participate… All I want to say (before someone starts to hate me) is that we’re all part of “diversity”, otherwise it isn’t that. And I think that Hamilton would be the first to do something about it, to be honest. Mercedes? They only do stuff for PR of course, being a huge company.

  3. A great news story to end a depressing week where I’m amazed and disillusioned at how bigoted and racist so many people following F1 are. Be your best self people – lose the hatred.

    To those on this article criticising these grants, and those continuing to defend racist comments as harmless and misconstrued – you need to find happiness in your lives I’m afraid.

    We’ll done Lewis and Mercedes.

    1. Raymond Pang
      30th June 2022, 14:18

      Hear hear.

      The name of this website has become somewhat ironic, given the nature of some of the posts that have been made in the last few days.

  4. Whether or not the announcement of these grants was always going to be today, or was moved to today, the timing is perfect in answer to Vips and Piquet and Ecclestone.

    1. Indeed, it is @robbie!

  5. “will establish a engineering masters degree scholarship programme for 10 black students over the next two academic years”

    How they determine if a person is black? What are they doing, using a darkness meter? If you’re just brown, it’s okay? And if you are dark pink?

    Linking an aid (or anything else, for that matter) to a skin color, in my opinion, is more racist than the racism it is supposedly trying to end.

    1. Absurd isn’t it?

      And what of the disadvantaged white girl who had more promise that one or more of those ten black students but they didn’t want to know her simply because she is white.

      Forced diversity only creates more racism, sexism and any other ism.

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