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 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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