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Mercedes to race in all-black cars for Formula One season

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BRACKLEY, England — Mercedes announced Monday that it will race in all-black cars for the 2020 Formula One season as it pledges to fight racism and improve team diversity.

Six-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas will also race in black overalls for the season, which starts Sunday in Austria after a long delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has shone a searching light on how much we need new measures and actions in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination,” Mercedes announced in its colour switch from silver.

Hamilton, who is the only Black world champion in F1, has spoken widely about racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. He plans to create a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.

“It is so important that we seize this moment and use it to educate ourselves whether you are an individual, brand or company to make real meaningful changes when it comes to ensuring equality and inclusivity,” Hamilton said in the announcement Monday.

Hamilton had spoken to Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff about standing united.

“I have personally experienced racism in my life and seen my family and friends experience racism, and I am speaking from the heart when I appeal for change,” he Hamilton.

Mercedes said Monday that just three per cent of its workforce identify as minority ethnic groups, and 12 per cent of its employees are women.

“We will not shy away from our weakness in this area, nor from the progress we must still make; our livery is our public pledge to take positive action,” Wolff said.

“We intend to find 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,” Wolff added.

The season will finally get underway with back-to-back races at the Austrian Grand Prix as part of an eight-race European swing. The Red Bull Ring will host races July 5 and 12.

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