Mercedes to run black-liveried cars in F1 2020 in stand against racism
"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," declare F1's world champions; New season begins in Austria on Friday
By James Galloway and Craig Slater
Last Updated: 29/06/20 5:14pm
Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will race black-liveried Mercedes cars in the 2020 season as F1's world champions make a powerful and visual stand against racism and for diversity.
Mercedes have always run their cars in their historical 'Silver Arrows' trim but are making the change as part of a pledge to improve the diversity of their own team.
"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," said a Mercedes statement.
F1's new season begins at the Austrian GP this week, with the revised car to take to the track for the first time in Friday practice from 10am. The sport as a whole is taking a stand against racism as part of its newly-launched We Race As One campaign.
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Hamilton, F1's six-time champion and the sport's only black driver, has been vocal in his support of the Black Lives Matter movement and attended a peaceful protest in London two weeks ago.
The 35-year-old has also revealed plans to launch The Hamilton Commission to open up greater opportunities for black students to enter the motorsport sector.
Hamilton said: "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. 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.
"When I spoke to Toto [Wolff] about my hopes for what we could achieve as a team, I said it was so important that we stand united.
"I would like to say a huge thank you to Toto and the Mercedes Board for taking the time to listen, to talk, and to really understand my experiences and passion, and for making this important statement that we are willing to change and improve as a business.
"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."
Hamilton and team-mate Bottas will also wear black overalls in 2020. The W11 car will also carry the call to 'End Racism' on the halo, with the F1-wide #WeRaceAsOne message will be featured on its mirrors.
Team principal Toto Wolff said F1's six-time champions "will not shy away from our weaknesses" in areas of diversity, with the Brackley team to announce a diversity and inclusion programme before the season begins.
Mercedes said that, currently, just three per cent of their workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups, while only 12 per cent are women.
"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," said Wolff.
"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.
"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. We intend to find and attract the very best talents from the broadest possible range of backgrounds, and to create credible pathways for them to reach our sport, in order to build a stronger and more diverse team in the future. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank our parent company Mercedes-Benz and our family of team partners who have supported and encouraged this initiative."
Bottas declared: "Racism and discrimination have no place in our sport or in our society and I am proud to stand with the team, with Lewis and with Mercedes-Benz in making this important statement."
The Formula 1 season begins on Friday on Sky Sports F1 with the Austrian GP. Sunday's race starts at 2.10pm. Find out more & subscribe to Sky F1.