Six-time Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton is working with a DMU professor to help improve the representation of Black people in UK motorsport.
Professor David Mba, Pro-Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise and Dean of the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Media (CEM) at DMU, has started working with the The Hamilton Commission, a research project set up to identify the key barriers to recruitment and progression of Black people in motorsport and engineering.
The Hamilton Commission is co-chaired by Lewis and Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Professor Mba is one of 13 members of The Board of Commissioners, an independent group made up of experts and industry leaders from within the UK who represent a range of perspectives on the challenge.
On announcing the Board today, Lewis said: “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.
“However, what is more concerning is that there are still very few people of colour across the sport as a whole.
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“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 careers in motorsport.
“We are dedicated to this cause and together we will make a change.”
Professor David Mba has joined The Hamilton Commission
Professor Mba is an advisory board member for the Association of Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers and has done a lot of work promoting black representation in engineering at universities.
DMU is known as one of the most diverse institutions in the UK, and has a majority of BAME students.
Professor Mba attended the first online meeting with Lewis Hamilton, Dr Sillem and the commissioners earlier this month.
He said: “I am honoured and delighted to be involved. You cannot underestimate the amount of courage it has taken for Lewis Hamilton to step up and take on this crucial issue.”
“The Commission will certainly raise the questions that need to be asked about Black careers in engineering and motorsport.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity to be involved with an initiative that will lead to a positive change .”
Dr Sillem said: “I was honoured to be asked to co-chair with Lewis our wonderful Board of Commissioners, who have each been carefully selected based on their experience, expertise and commitment to tackling racial injustice.
“This is a truly unique opportunity to drive transformational change on this crucial issue, and in the process to learn more about how we can enrich diversity in other parts of engineering and society.”
Professor Mba and his colleagues will review and inform the research methods of the commission, examine the research findings and help identify the key challenges and opportunities facing young Black people entering Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers, particularly in UK motorsport.
They will then advise on the final actions and recommendations that result from the research and take them to key stakeholders in government and industry to act on.
The first meeting of the Board of Commissioners took place earlier this month, where members shared their initial insights and thoughts on the research plan with Lewis and Hayaatun. The Board will meet quarterly.
The Hamilton Commission has been in development since December 2019 but publicly launched in June 2020 to coincide with the heightened media and public interest in the Black Lives Matter movement, and greater scrutiny of race inequality in society.
Posted on Thursday 24th September 2020