The Hamilton Commission, led by Formula One (F1) world champion Lewis Hamilton and the Royal Academy of Engineering, has published its report to increase Black representation in motorsport and engineering. After the racist abuse Hamilton received online after his recent British Grand Prix win, the recommendations are even more timely.
The Hamilton Commission explained
The 93-page report entitled “ACCELERATING CHANGE: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport” involved 10 months of research into the barriers faced by Black students pursuing engineering careers, as well as inside the motorsport industry.
While the report focuses on increasing participation for Black groups, the commission does stipulate that “there may be recommendations related to engaging the wider demographic of young BAME people as well as recommendations to support inclusive recruitment and progression practices, which will benefit diverse candidates more broadly.”
Commissioners included a series of diverse and sector-leading individuals, including Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering, and Dr Nike Folayan MBE, Co-founder and Chair of the Association for Black and minority ethnic engineers (AFBE-UK).
In the report’s introduction penned by Hamilton himself, he said the commission “worked hard to understand the barriers facing Black students at every step of their educational journey” and “developed clear recommendations with tangible steps that we hope will encourage more of the Black community to pursue a career in STEM.”
He added how they used the motorsport industry “as a lens through which to explore institutional
issues across our society that prevent Black youth from achieving their highest potential.”
The report made ten recommendations to foster inclusion in motorsport, including increasing early-stage opportunities for Black youth and additional careers education support. The ten points were chosen to follow a focused approach and encourage, in Hamilton’s words, a “commission of action, not just ideas.”
The report’s findings
The report found that societal factors and practices endemic in Formula 1 have contributed to the low representation of F1 employees from a Black background, accounting for just 1% of F1 employees today.
Identified barriers include hiring practices in motorsport teams that prioritise students from high-ranking universities, geographical factors, as well as “lower expectations of Black students’ academic abilities and the lack of Black role models in STEM teaching positions.”
The report’s recommendations
As a result of these findings, the report sets out 10 recommendations for change under three key strands – support and empowerment, accountability and measurement, and inspiration and engagement.
The recommendations include asking F1 teams and other motorsport organisations to implement a diversity and inclusion charter, expanding the apprenticeships provision, which could increase industry accessibility for underrepresented groups, and establishing “a new exclusions innovation fund.”
Other recommendations include “calling for additional STEM activity support to be provided to supplementary schools led by Black community groups across the UK.”
Hamilton has confirmed his commitment to driving these recommendations forward: “Some of these barriers I recognise from my own experiences, but our findings have opened my eyes to just how far-reaching these problems are. Now that I’m armed with the commission’s recommendations, I am personally committed to ensuring they are put into action. I’m so proud of our work to date, but this is really just the beginning.”
Formula One responds
Stefano Domenicali, F1’s president, and CEO said: “The Hamilton Commission has delivered a comprehensive and impressive report that shows the passion Lewis has for this very important issue.
“We will take the time to read and reflect on all of the findings, but we completely agree that we need to increase diversity across the sport, and we have taken action to address this and will be announcing more actions in the coming days.
“We want a sport that is representative of our hugely diverse fan base, and that is why Formula 1, the FIA, and all the teams are working hard to deliver on our detailed plans to create positive change across the sport. There is always more to do, and the report will stimulate thoughts about further actions that are required.”
To download the report in full, please click here.