The Mercedes team cars have a different look this season.
The Formula 1 season kicks off Friday when practice begins for the rescheduled Austrian Grand Prix. And the cars of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will be black instead of their familiar silver.
Mercedes announced earlier in the week that it would be running black cars in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. Hamilton, the defending F1 champion, is the only Black driver in Formula 1 and the only Black driver who has won a Formula 1 title.
He said Thursday it was “huge” that Mercedes would change the color of their cars.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 2, 2020
“It’s great to see people from all walks of life, people not being so narrow-minded and defensive and being open to saying ‘You know what? I’m anti-racist. I want to be a part of the movement moving forwards.’
“I went on the march in London and there were all colored people with white, black and everything in between and that brought a lot of warmth to my heart. A lot of my fans have messaged in. Did a video the other day. And again, people from other backgrounds being open and saying ‘You know, look, we are one race at the end of the day and we need to pull together.’
“And I can’t tell you how proud I am to see Mercedes standing with me and standing with the whole message of equality and inclusivity and doing the car black. That’s huge. Mercedes have been the Silver Arrows for years. This is not something you would ever expect from Mercedes but they are about being with — they can’t change the past. They acknowledge the past, but they want to be a part of helping shift the future for a better time. And it’s great that Formula 1 have also done that.”
Hamilton has been extremely outspoken about the push for racial equality during Formula 1’s hiatus. As the most famous driver in the world, Hamilton also has the biggest platform of anyone in racing. He said in June that he was noticing who was staying silent on the topic of racial injustice.
Mercedes: We’ll be stronger with more diversity
When Mercedes announced that Hamilton and Bottas would have black cars on Monday, it also said that it realized that it needed to work to make its own staff more diverse throughout the company. It said it had used the past weeks “to listen to the perspectives of our team members, to learn and reflect on our team as it is today and how we want it to be in the future.”
“We are proud of our culture and our values,” Mercedes said. “We prize the contribution of every individual, and our team members tell us that the experience within our team is an inclusive one. But in our organization, just three percent of our workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups and only 12% of our employees are women. This lack of diversity shows that we need to find new approaches to attract talent from many areas of society we do not currently reach. We know that our team will be stronger if we can attract talents from the broadest possible pool and we are committed to achieving this through positive action.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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