The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team will this season run a new all-black livery, which, it says, is a “public pledge” to improve the diversity of its team in the future.
The team’s cars have featured Mercedes’ traditional ‘Silver Arrows’ colours since it launched in 2010, but the new livery for 2020 has been decided upon in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks.
The new colour scheme will make its debut at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix season opener. It will feature a call to ‘End Racism’ on the halo of both W11 cars, along with support for the official F1 #WeRaceAsOne initiative. Both drivers will also sport black overalls and ‘adapt’ their helmet designs.
Mercedes’ lead driver, six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, is the only black driver in the sport and has been a vocal proponent of measures to increase diversity in motorsport. The Mercedes-AMG F1 team said only 3% of its workforce identified as belonging to minority ethnic groups and 12% of its employees are women. In a statement, it said: “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.”
The Bicester-based team is currently establishing a diversity and inclusion programme that will include measures such as raising awareness of diversity among team members, analysis of its recruitment and development processes, education initiatives and working with F1 stakeholders to improve the accessibility of the sport.
Team boss Toto Wolff said: “Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, our sport or our team: this is a core belief at Mercedes. But having the right beliefs and the right mindset isn't enough if we remain silent.
“We wish to use our voice and our global platform to speak up for respect and equality, and the Silver Arrows will race in black for the entire 2020 season to show our commitment to greater diversity within our team and our sport. We will not shy away from our weaknesses in this area, nor from the progress we must still make. Our livery is our public pledge to take positive action.”
Hamilton recently formed the Hamilton Commission, designed to help encourage young people from black backgrounds into studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Hamilton said: “We want to build a legacy that goes beyond sport, and if we can be the leaders and can start building more diversity within our own business, it will send such a strong message and give others the confidence to begin a dialogue about how they can implement change."
The impact of the Black Lives Matter movement has been felt within motorsport in recent weeks. Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone was criticised by Hamilton and the sport’s current chiefs for telling CNN that "in lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are”.