Mercedes to run black F1 cars in support of #BlackLivesMatter

Lewis Hamilton's team pledges to improve diversity in its 'End Racism' call

29 June 2020 - 16:19 By Denis Droppa
The Silver Arrows will run an all-black base livery for the 2020 season.
The Silver Arrows will run an all-black base livery for the 2020 season.
Image: Supplied

In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team will run black livery on its cars for 2020 when the season begins this weekend in Austria.

The call to “End Racism” will feature on the halo of both cars, which are usually primarily silver and nicknamed the Silver Arrows. The united F1 initiative #WeRaceAsOne will be featured on the mirrors. Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will also wear black racing overalls.

“In a world that has changed profoundly since the teams last gathered in Melbourne in early March, our sport’s united response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, in the form of Project Pitlane, showcased the very best capability that Formula One has to offer,” said a Mercedes F1 team statement.

“For 2020, we have chosen to race in an all-black base livery as a public pledge to improve the diversity of our team – and a clear statement that we stand against racism and all forms of discrimination.”

Noting that just 3% of its workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups and only 12% of its employees are women, the team said that before the end of this season it would announce a Diversity and Inclusion programme to encourage and support people from underrepresented backgrounds who aspire to reach F1.

Markus Schaefer, non-executive chairperson of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team said: “In recent weeks, events around the world have reinforced the importance of continuing to fight against racism and all forms of discrimination. At Mercedes, we know that the strength of our organisation lies in the diversity of our people, and we are proud to be able to use one of our most prominent global platforms to signal our commitment to this fundamental principle of our society and our business.”

Team Principal Toto Wolff commented: “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 Arrow will race in black for the entire 2020 season to show our commitment to greater diversity within our team and our sport.”

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been an outspoken supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of US police.

He recently announced the formation of the Hamilton Commission, a research partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used to engage more young people from black backgrounds.

“It’s so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity,” said Hamilton.

“I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change.”

The Formula One season was unable to start in Australia in March as planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The season begins with back-to-back races at Austria’s Red Bull Ring on July 5 and 12, which will take place without spectators.

Silverstone will host the British Grand Prix on August 2 and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix on August 9. The Hungarian Grand Prix will be on July 19 with races in Spain, Belgium and Italy on August 16 and 30, and September 6, respectively.