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Formula 1

Hamilton starts new charity, pledges £20m to fund it

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has launched a new charitable foundation to support young people from underrepresented groups in the UK and personally pledged £20million to fund it.

Hamilton’s new foundation Mission 44 will seek to support organisations and programmes that narrow the gap in employment and education systems in the UK.

It will also be working closely with the Ignite charitable initiative set up by Hamilton and Mercedes with a separate multi-million-dollar fund as part of his 2021 contract agreement.

The launch of Mission 44 follows the publishing of the Hamilton Commission report, a detailed body of work undertaken through a collaboration between Hamilton and the Royal Academy of Engineering to understand the reasons behind the lack of Black representation in F1 and UK motorsport.

Mission 44 will incorporate the findings from the Hamilton Commission’s research but while that report focused on establishing the wide range of societal issues holding back young Black people, Mission 44 will support other underrepresented groups as well.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1

Hamilton’s £20m pledge will be supported by further contributions from his “brand partners and sponsors”.

The various efforts Hamilton – F1’s first and only Black driver – has undertaken in the interest of diversity, especially in the last 12 months, have been enthusiastically supported by his Mercedes F1 team.

Mercedes switched to a black anti-racism livery for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and launched its own Accelerate 25 initiative to undertake a range of initiatives to become a more inclusive organisation and inspire young people from underrepresented groups.

Team boss Toto Wolff said “we have listened and worked closely with Lewis over the last year to understand how we can help open up our sport to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce within our own team” and said the new projects are “both exciting and challenging”.

“I am delighted today that we can finally talk about our plans for the Ignite initiative,” said Wolff.

“Since we announced our intention with Lewis at the start of the year to create a joint project, a great deal of work and discussion has taken place in the background to refine our aims and our mission.”

Toto Wolff Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1

The joint Mercedes/Hamilton initiative Ignite, first mentioned when Hamilton signed his 2021 deal earlier this year but without further details, will have a “specific focus on improving the underrepresentation of diverse students studying STEM and engineering, as well as wider parts of the industry”.

It will cover “all projects and programmes to improve equality in the motorsport industry, while Mission 44 will have a broader scope to help young people focusing its work on wider societal impact areas”.

“Supporting the ambitions of underrepresented young people has always been important to me and Mission 44 represents my commitment to create real change within this community,” said Hamilton.

“In my early life, I experienced first hand how coming from an underrepresented background can affect your future but, luckily for me, I was able to overcome those odds through opportunity and support.

“I want to ensure that other young people from similar backgrounds are able to do the same.

“I am so grateful that Mercedes are joining me on our initiative Ignite, with the goal to improve representation within the motorsport industry.

“The findings of The Hamilton Commission and its recommendations have provided us with a fantastic basis to begin our work.

“Change within the industry is long overdue, but we are now firmly on the journey towards transforming it for the better.”

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