ACCELERATING CHANGE: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport
After ten months of research, The Hamilton Commission publishes its report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport . The report explores the barriers to the recruitment and progression of Black people within UK motorsport, which start in early life and throughout their educational journeys, and provides ten recommendations to address them. The full report can be downloaded below via the link below, and an interactive summary of the report is also available to explore.
The full evidence-based report
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An animated interactive summary of the report.
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Supporting third party qualitative research conducted by the Cultural Intelligence Hub.
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“Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport”
As the first Black Formula 1 driver, Sir Lewis Hamilton was always aware of the lack of diversity in motorsport. But this underrepresentation is not limited to the driver pool – it also includes those who work in the garage and as engineers in the factories.
After seeing the lack of diversity in the 2019 end-of-season photo, Lewis was spurred to take action and set out to understand the specific barriers to the recruitment and progression of Black people within UK motorsport. Lewis has always been vocal about the need for real industry-wide change, but to make it happen himself, he needed to know the facts.
As a result, Lewis formed The Hamilton Commission alongside The Royal Academy of Engineering, presenting an opportunity to address the underrepresentation of Black people in UK motorsport, as well as the STEM sector as a whole.
Following a 10-month period of research including data analysis, stakeholder mapping, a sport, education and employment literature review, primary quantitative and qualitative research with young people, and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, The Hamilton Commission has published its report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport.
Discover the report’s 10 recommendations
The Hamilton Commission research project has now ended and its recommendations have informed the development of Mission 44, Sir Lewis Hamilton’s charitable foundation. For enquiries relating to this report please email [email protected] .
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Sir Lewis Hamilton MBE HonFREng and the Royal Academy of Engineering have published The Hamilton Commission report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport .
The Hamilton Commission, work with The Royal Academy of Engineering, to address the underrepresentation of Black people in UK motorsport, as well as the STEM sector.
Mission 44 publishes update on the Hamilton Commission Report
Explore the Hamilton Commission Report
View the interactive summary
This research project identifies the key barriers to recruitment and progression of Black people in UK motorsport. In July 2021, the Hamilton Commission report proposed ten recommendations, including F1 teams implementing a D&I charter, and piloting approaches to increase the number of Black teachers in STEM subjects.
Press release July 2021: The Hamilton Commission publishes report on improving representation of Black people in UK motorsport
The Commission, which conducted its research over a period of ten months, specifically focused on engineering positions within the industry, as they represent a major group of occupations and offer the biggest opportunity for change.
In August 2023, Mission 44 published an update on the Hamilton Commission's landmark report. You can read the full update from Mission 44 here .
The Hamilton Commission has undertaken a range of activities to help inform the research findings. These activities have included an initial data analysis, stakeholder mapping, a literature review in sport, education and employment, as well as in-depth surveying and analysis with youth focus groups and key stakeholders. At the end of the research project, the Hamilton Commission delivered recommendations and actions addressing the challenges around STEM and the motorsport industry specific to the UK.
Board of Commissioners
The Hamilton Commission was co-chaired by Lewis Hamilton MBE HonFREng and Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE. The Board of Commissioners was an independent group made up of 14 experts and industry leaders from the UK, who brought a range of expertise, knowledge, and experience from their respective fields to the challenge. The Commissioners were selected to represent a wide range of expertise spanning critical areas of influence including representatives from motorsport, engineering, schools, colleges and universities, community and youth groups working with young Black people, and representation from UK major political parties.
Read the report and third party research
The Hamilton Commission Report
This is the Hamilton Commission report.
As the first Black driver in Formula 1, Sir Lewis Hamilton was always aware of the lack of diversity across the motorsport industry. But this underrepresentation is not just limited to the driver pool, and also includes those who work in the garage and the engineers in the factories too.
After reviewing the lack of diversity within the end of season photo in 2019, Lewis was spurred to take action and set out to understand the specific barriers to the recruitment and progression of Black people within UK motorsport. Lewis has always been vocal about the need for real industry wide change, but in order to make this change happen himself, he needed to know the facts.
As a result, Lewis formed The Hamilton Commission, alongside The Royal Academy of Engineering, which presented an opportunity to simultaneously address the underrepresentation of Black people in UK motorsport, as well as the STEM sector.
Following a ten month research period, which included initial data analysis, stakeholder mapping, a literature review in sport, education and employment, as well as primary quantitative and qualitative research with young people and in depth interviews with key stakeholders, The Hamilton Commission has published its report, Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport.
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Lewis Hamilton's Commission publishes findings and makes recommendations to increase motorsport diversity
The hamilton commission, launched in june 2020 by f1's seven-time world champion and the royal academy of engineering, makes 10 recommendations to drive lasting change to increase the number of black people in motorsport, by james galloway.
Last Updated: 13/07/21 1:39pm
Lewis Hamilton says he is committed to helping implement the changes required to make motorsport more diverse, as his commission released its findings and recommendations to increase the representation of black people in engineering.
The Hamilton Commission, established by F1's seven-time world champion in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Engineering last year, published its report after 10 months of research into the barriers faced by black students progressing into engineering careers, and then inside the motorsport industry.
Hamilton, who co-chaired the commission with Dr Hayaatun Sillem working with a board of 14 commissioners, believes the research sets out "clear meaningful steps" for the motorsport industry to become more inclusive, while also highlighting the areas that can be improved in education.
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"We make ten recommendations which relate to shifting change within motorsport, maximising early-stage opportunities for Black youth and providing additional careers education support to those who need it most," said Hamilton, F1's only black driver, in the report.
"We know there is so much that needs to change when it comes to racial equality, but it's impossible to tackle everything at once. Instead, we carefully chose these recommendations to ensure we have a focussed approach and, more importantly, recommendations that I can take responsibility for taking forward.
"We have always been set on being a 'Commission of Action', not just ideas, and so alongside my foundation and my joint initiative with Mercedes, we have also received support from a range of organisations to follow through on the recommendations, turning them into action.
"The recommendations will vary in timescale but it's exciting that we can commit to tangible progress."
What are the study's findings?
The report states that "factors within wider society, some of which are systemic in nature, as well as practices within Formula 1 have been identified as contributing towards a situation in which only 1 per cent employees in Formula 1 are from Black backgrounds".
The research said factors included hiring practices within motorsport teams that favour students from a select group of high-ranking universities; geographical factors; lower expectations of black students' academic abilities; and the lack of black role models in STEM teaching positions.
The Hamilton Commission sets out 10 recommendations to drive lasting 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, broadening access by expanding the apprenticeships provision, establishing a new exclusions innovation fund, and calling for additional STEM activity support to be provided to supplementary schools led by black community groups across the UK.
"Given the right opportunities and support, young people can excel at whatever they put their minds to, but our research shows that many young Black people are being closed out of opportunities within STEM, and having their full potential limited," said Hamilton.
"While I have enjoyed a successful career in motorsport, it's been a lonely path as one of the few Black individuals within Formula 1 and, after 15 years of waiting for the industry to catch up, I realised I had to take action myself.
"In order to do that, I needed to understand what was preventing the industry from being as diverse as the world around it.
"Through the Commission's research, we can see there are clear meaningful steps the motorsport industry needs to take towards creating a more inclusive environment where diversity can thrive but also that we must tackle the barriers facing Black students that exist throughout their educational journey.
"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."
F1: Hamilton Commission report 'comprehensive and impressive'
Formula 1 said it welcomed the report from The Hamilton Commission and that the sport would continue to work to create a more diverse culture, with the findings to serve to "stimulate thoughts about further actions that are required".
Stefano Domenicali, F1's president and CEO, said in a statement: "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.
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"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."
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The Hamilton Commission
'Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport' is the latest report from The Hamilton Commission, spearheaded by Sir Lewis Hamilton.
The findings and insights explore the barriers to the recruitment and progression of Black people within UK motorsport. This underrepresentation is not just limited to the driver pool, but also those who work in the garage and the engineers in the factories too.
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The fallout of the Hamilton Commission Report
This is my first Blog post for Racecar Engineering Magazine – it’s nice to have the opportunity to engage with readers on a more personal level and leave the heavy and sometimes intense technical writing to the side for a minute. As some will already know from my usual articles, I’m an engineering consultant, and I work primarily in the motorsport space.
I like it here for many reasons, but aside from an affinity for fast-moving vehicles, it has a much broader appeal for me as an engineer. There aren’t many areas of science that aren’t relevant in the design of a well-engineered vehicle. From fluid dynamics in airflow and cooling method to classical mechanics in vehicle dynamics, chemical processes in tyre science and combustion, electrification in modern powertrains, materials sciences, mechatronics and even medical science in ergonomics and crash safety.
The automotive engineering process must draw from such a wide range of disciplines to create a competitive product. With motorsport being a space where competitive success is judged not by a buyers market but by pure performance, this is taken up a notch further. Success or failure is clearly defined in competitive engineering. It’s an incredible platform for developing engineering expertise, applications of technology and the leadership and management skills required to organise a team of people towards a common objective at a very rapid pace.
Where a victory is decided through a particular team having the competitive edge over the rest of the grid, sometimes measured in 10ths of seconds, engineers push elements forward very quickly. In what other industry do we see this level of focus? With very few corners of the engineering and scientific spectrum that the sport doesn’t need to draw from by default, it is relevant to the global technology space as an incubator of technology that engineers can then export to other industries. This is a significant area of focus for my company as the year’s progress.
The sport’s somewhat hidden value to our society is high, but perhaps of higher value is that everyone who is in a position to contribute to such an industry has a fair chance at contributing, regardless of country, race, gender or socioeconomic status.
Here’s where we arrive at a hot topic. After the sport’s most prominent ambassador vocally observed the lack of equal contribution from broader demographics, there have been lots of high publicity noise and talk around diversity and inclusion within the industry. As a Black motorsport engineer, I have a unique perspective on the issues currently at the forefront of conversation, having experienced many of the obstacles in place. These perspectives contributed to the Hamilton Commission’s research and made it into the recently published report.
So what do we do with the learnings gained from their research? And how do we start to make a change? Now the dust has settled and the media buzz has quieted down, the work begins. Of course, the Hamilton Commission’s report needn’t be the final say in any approach to the problem, but it is the most public one, and it did highlight several critical recommendations to the industry that would start to make solid contributions towards a solution.
It’s going to take some determined effort, much less talk and decidedly more action. Fortunately, numerous organisations like Wavey Dynamics, The Blair Project, and NRG Motorsport based in the UK are already working on several different projects that address the outputs and recommendations of the Hamilton Commission report.
I am working on one of these projects via my company, Wavey Dynamics, collaborating with Motors Formula Team, a motorsport team and driver management agency. Together, we are at the beginning of a journey to establish a majority Black-owned, engineered and driven team at world championship level motorsport – with work well underway on our mission towards competing at the Le Mans 24h and fielding an entry in the upcoming E1 powerboat racing series; we have high ambitions.
One of the direct and immediate impacts the project will have is to represent the many young boys and girls worldwide who will see us racing. With role models in the sport to look up to, motorsport will seem a much more familiar environment for fans and aspiring professionals – to quote a phrase, “See me, be me…”. Representation is a natural by-product of our competition, still, we also have various initiatives in the long term to link with universities at Bachelors & Masters level to provide industry-relevant thesis projects to students.
With a direct link to a professional motorsport team, these will be great mechanisms to engage and impart practical skills and real working experience to young aspiring motorsport professionals and directly addresses 4 of the 10 Hamilton Commission recommendations alone. This applies not only in engineering backgrounds but also in marketing, business, sports science and any other from the wide spectrum of talent in our sport.
So, where do we go from here? The next few months will be interesting indeed. As the dust settles from the report and the media hype falls away, what will the tangible outcomes of this somewhat vocal period be? Will the wider motorsport community and corporate partners support projects like this to be a part of their success, or will interest wane and the subsequent decades look similar to the previous?
Motorsport is in a definite state of flux at the moment. There’s lots of change. New series are popping up in Extreme E and the W Series, significant changes and restructuring of existing series for 2022 F1. LMH is having its first year, with LMDh to follow and the future elimination of GTLM in IMSA and GTE in WEC. On the other side, individual championships such as Formula E are also seeing a reduction of entrants.
These changes are motivated by efforts to reduce the high costs of motorsport to attract broader participation, find relevance in our increasingly environmentally focused society, and increase the sport’s appeal and grow the fanbase to include a younger, more diverse demographic. As these changes come in and an equilibrium resides again, it would be a great shame not to capitalise on opportunities to improve some of the structural shortcomings of the institution in its new age.
Who will be instrumental in getting it done? Until next time, get in touch! Let’s continue the conversation.
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