Toto Wolff has revealed that six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was the driving force behind the Mercedes team taking a stronger stance on racism and committing to addressing the lack of diversity in motorsport.
Mercedes Formula 1 announced yesterday that they would be racing with a new black livery throughout the 2020 season in order to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter campaign, as well to signal their own desire to increase the diversity of their team.
Speaking to Der Standard, Wolff said that he received a call from Hamilton where the British driver said that he wanted the team to do more to tackle racism.
“Lewis wanted to know from me what a sign we could make as a team, something that goes beyond two posts on Instagram,” Wolff told Der Standard.
“The board of directors of Daimler and the sponsors supported us immediately. The right convictions are not enough if we remain silent. We would therefore like to use our voice and our platform to campaign for respect and equality.”
Alongside the unveiling of their new livery, Mercedes released more information about the level of diversity within their own team and outlined a commitment to make improvements.
“Only 3% of our workforce belongs to an ethnic minority, only 12% are women,” Wolff said.
“This lack of diversity shows that we need new approaches. There is a lot of talent that the door to Formula 1 has so far been closed. We want to change that. We don’t set quotas, we set goals. We want to deliver. Increasing diversity will improve our performance in the long term.
Hamilton himself has been a vocal advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and attended a protest in London earlier this month.
“Lewis uses the momentum to make a difference to achieve sustainable change,” Wolff added.
“He asked me how many times in my life I’ve thought about my skin color. How often I felt that I was being disadvantaged. To be honest, never.” The Viennese continues to think: “I’ve never been asked how I can reconcile job and child. It happens to my wife all the time. It’s not just about the obvious discrimination, it’s also about the subtle one.”