Mercedes launches Accelerate 25 diversity initiative

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has launched a new diversity initiative called Accelerate 25 that aims to ensure a quarter of all new starters come from under-represented groups until 2025

Mercedes launches Accelerate 25 diversity initiative

The seven-time F1 constructors' championship winning outfit revealed when it launched its all-black anti-racism livery prior to the Austrian Grand Prix that started the 2020 season that just 3% of its workforce identified as belonging to a minority ethnic group.

A team statement pledged that it would seek to address this lack of diversity and "attract the very best talents from the broadest possible range of backgrounds, and to create credible pathways for them to reach our sport, in order to build a stronger and more diverse team in the future".

The launch of Mercedes' Accelerate 25 scheme comes after several months of research by the outfit "to deepen our understanding in this area and develop our culture and practices".

In addition to its stated aim of ensuring 25% of new starters are from under-represented groups, the team has launched an education programme, with every employee set to have participated in Diversity and Inclusion training by June 2021, and created a forum to encourage input "in how we can retain, develop and accelerate our progress".

The team has also partnered with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK), the Mulberry Schools Trust and STEM advocacy group Stemettes as part of what it calls a "long-term commitment" to delivering measurable change that followed an in-depth analysis by an external company of Mercedes' recruitment and development processes.

"Our legacy off the track is just as important to this team as the success that we have achieved with our historic seventh consecutive world championship this year," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

"We have a real opportunity to drive the change that we all want to see in our sport through strengthening an inclusive and diverse culture at our team and using our platform to take that thinking beyond just our factory.

"I am very proud of the work that has been done over the last few months to take an in-depth look at our practices, to assess our weaknesses and to develop a long-term plan and commitment to take the necessary actions and realise every advantage of becoming a more diverse team; this is the vision expressed by our new programme, Accelerate 25."

The team's lead driver Lewis Hamilton launched a commission this year with the aim of identifying the barriers to recruitment and progression of black people in motorsport.

He said: "In what has been a really tough year for everyone, I am incredibly proud of my team as we reach the end of such an intense season.

"Not only have we made history on the track, but they have joined me in pushing for change off the track, by working to make our team and our sport more diverse.

"We have made some positive strides this year which I'm proud of, however we still have a long way to go and I know Accelerate 25 will give us the platform to deliver more meaningful change.

"I truly believe this will have a measurable and long-lasting impact on the face of sport for generations to come."

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