RACKLEY, England (AP) -- Mercedes announced Monday that it will race in all-black cars for the 2020 Formula One season as it pledges to fight racism and improve the diversity of its team.
Six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas will also race in black overalls for the season, which started Sunday in Austria after a long delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
‘’The Black Lives Matter movement has shone a searching light on how much we need new measures and actions in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination,’’ Mercedes announced in its color switch from silver.
Hamilton, who is the only Black world champion in F1, has spoken widely about racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. He plans to create a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.
‘’It is 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,’’ Hamilton said in the announcement Monday.
Hamilton said he had spoken to Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff about standing united.
‘’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,’’ Hamilton said.
Mercedes said Monday that just 3% of its workforce identify as belonging to minority ethnic groups, and that only 12% of its employees are women.