Toto Wolff says Lewis Hamilton sparked Mercedes’ livery change

© Paul Ripke for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says the decision to switch to an all-black livery came after Lewis Hamilton asked what the team could do to tackle racial injustice.

In a surprise move Mercedes revealed a radical livery change just a few days before the 2020 season start. The team decided to sport an all-black livery as a statement on diversity and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Toto Wolff reveals a question from Lewis Hamilton was what prompted Mercedes to make such a radical move.

“Lewis wanted to know from me what a sign we could make as a team, something that goes beyond two posts on Instagram,” said Wolff to Der Standard newspaper.

“The board of directors of Daimler and the sponsors supported us immediately. The right convictions are not enough if we remain silent.

“We would therefore like to use our voice and our platform to campaign for respect and equality.”

The Austrian went on to talk about diversity withing the team.

“Only 3% of our workforce belongs to an ethnic minority, only 12% are women. This lack of diversity shows that we need new approaches.

“There is a lot of talent that the door to Formula 1 has so far been closed. We want to change that. We don’t set quotas, we set goals. We want to deliver.

“Increasing diversity will improve our performance in the long term.”

Hamilton has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and even attended protests held in London a few weeks ago.

“Lewis uses the momentum to make a difference to achieve sustainable change,” Wolff continued.

“He asked me how many times in my life I’ve thought about my skin color. How often I felt that I was being disadvantaged. To be honest, never.

“I’ve never been asked how I can reconcile job and child. It happens to my wife all the time.

“It’s not just about the obvious discrimination, it’s also about the subtle one.”

The livery change announcement was further praised by Lewis Hamilton on his social media channels.

“I am so proud of this team for being open-eyed to the serious issue of racism and discrimination,” wrote Hamilton.

“They’ve taken steps to ensure they are being open-minded, to be willing to learn from lessons past and present, and [are] working together wholeheartedly for a better, more equal and inclusive future.

“The Silver Arrows has been a prominent leader for decades, and this marks a new era for them also, where we push for inclusion and diversity.

“We have much to do, but I’m confident that together we can help change this sport and spark the others in the industry to follow,” concluded the Briton.

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