When tuning into the Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday in Formula 1’s return to the track amid the coronavirus pandemic, viewers will notice Mercedes competitors Lewis Hamilton and Valtarri Bottas driving in all-black cars.
The design is meant to be a statement to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement that has gone global in its fight against police brutality and racial injustice. Beyond the color scheme, the cars will have “end racism” imprinted on their halos.
Hamilton is the lone Black driver currently racing in the circuit.
“I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism,” said Hamilton in a statement, “and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change.”
Introducing our new 2020 livery 🖤 A pledge to improve the diversity of our team and our sport, and a signal of the Team’s commitment to fighting racism and discrimination in all its forms. pic.twitter.com/ZYzCsFl6Mv
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) June 29, 2020
Mercedes acknowledged in a press release that just 3 percent of its Silver Arrows employees were non-white and pledged to hire a more diverse workforce moving forward.
Motorsports have become an unlikely center of attention for racial issues in sports over the past couple of months. NASCAR’s battle against its reputation as being non-inclusive has drawn praise and new fans while upsetting those unwilling to accept change. Formula 1, it seems, will attempt to join a broad movement toward racial equality.
Bottas and Hamilton finished first and second, respectively, in Australian Grand Prix qualifying.