Former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh joins Hamilton Commission board

Martin Whitmarsh (right) is on the Board of Commissioners
Martin Whitmarsh (right) is on the Board of Commissioners (PA Archive)
0:01am, Thu 24 Sep 2020
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Lewis Hamilton’s former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has been named on the board of the Hamilton Commission.

Six-time world champion Hamilton, 35, launched the initiative in June to improve diversity in motorsport.

Hamilton, who could this weekend match Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 victories, remains Formula One’s sole black driver.

Whitmarsh spent 25 years at McLaren before leaving as team principal in 2014 – a year after Hamilton departed the British constructor to join Mercedes.

The 62-year-old Englishman went on to head up Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup challenge before assuming an advisory role on the board of the all-electric Formula E series.

Tracey Crouch, the former Sports Minister, has also been enlisted on the 14-strong board which was announced on Thursday. They will meet quarterly.

The Hamilton Commission, which vows to deliver recommendations that will benefit young black people wishing to work in motorsport, is set to run for the next nine months.

Martin Whitmarsh headed up Ben Ainslie's America's Cup challenge (Andrew Matthews/PA) (PA Archive)

“Since I began my professional racing career in Formula One, 14 years ago, I was the first driver of colour and to this day, sadly that is still the case,” said Hamilton.

“However, what is more concerning is that there are still very few people of colour across the sport as a whole.

“In F1, our teams are much bigger than the athletes that front them, but representation is insufficient across every skill set – from the garage to the engineers in the factories and design departments.

“Change isn’t coming quickly enough, and we need to know why.

“This is why I wanted to set up the commission and I’m proud to be working with the Royal Academy of Engineering and our incredible board of commissioners to identify the barriers facing young black people to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers in motorsport. We are dedicated to this cause and together, we will make a change.”

Hamilton, who on Wednesday was named in Time magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people this year, believes winning a record-equalling seventh world championship against the backdrop of his fight against racism will rank as his greatest achievement.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team are running an all-black livery to highlight his battle. The world champions have also pledged to improve diversity within their own corridors.

The team, which is based in Northamptonshire, revealed ahead of the new season, that just three per cent of its workforce comes from a minority ethnic group, while only 12 per cent are female.

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