F1 announces scholarship and internship plan to improve diversity

Formula 1 has unveiled its plans for a new scholarship, internship and apprenticeship programme focusing on underrepresented groups in a push to improve diversity throughout the industry.

As part of its We Race As One initiative, F1 announced in June 2020 that it would be forming a foundation to help fund scholarships and tuition for students from more diverse backgrounds, aided by a personal donation of $1 million from F1 executive chairman Chase Carey.

This came after a push from seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton to make F1 more diverse, including a launch of the Hamilton Commission to find out why black and other ethnic minority groups are underrepresented in the series.

The findings of the Hamilton Commission were released earlier this week, and revealed that just 1% of employees in F1 are from black backgrounds.

F1 explained its plans to provide more opportunities through its scholarship programme back in March, but has today fully outlined what action it will be taking.

Ten Formula 1 Engineering Scholarships will be made available for students from “underrepresented groups including ethnic minorities, women, and those from under-privileged backgrounds”, covering the full cost of tuition as well as providing a living stipend.

All 10 F1 teams have committed to provide work experience opportunities to a scholar during their time at university, with the partner institutions being based across the UK and Italy. These are University of Cambridge (1 scholar), Coventry University (1), Manchester Metropolitan University (1), MUNER - The Motorvehicle University of Emilia-Romagna (3), University of Oxford (2) and Strathclyde University (1).

The Formula 1 Apprentice Programme will see the series “place two long term apprentices from underrepresented groups within our organisation in 2021. The apprenticeships will begin in September and have a focus on mechanical engineering.”

Finally, the Formula 1 Internship Programme will see six interns from underrepresented groups be offered roles in F1 this year on a mix of short and long-term placements, two of which have already been assigned in F1’s motorsport and marketing teams.

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F1’s statement said the remaining four “will be recruited over the coming weeks via multiple D&I partners including: BCOMS, who work with talented sports media enthusiasts looking to develop their career in media; Driven By Diversity, whose mission is to educate individuals and organisations on the value of diversity and inclusion in motorsport; and various other initiatives who train and nurture young people from underrepresented groups or with limited educational or employment opportunities.”

“Formula 1 is a global sport with fans across the world,” said F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali.

“We want to be as diverse as our fan base and that is why we are taking action to ensure talented people from underrepresented groups have the best opportunities to get into, and build, a fantastic career in this amazing sport.

“I am delighted to announce that scholars, apprentices and interns will get the chance to fulfil their dreams in Formula 1 and I know they have amazing futures ahead of them. I want to pay particular thanks to Chase whose generous donation is funding the ten scholarships.

“Our #WeRaceAsOne platform is our commitment to make real change and shows our recognition that we know we must make a positive contribution to the world we live in. All of the teams are committed to this and the work of the Hamilton Commission shows the dedication to addressing these issues across Formula 1.

“Our focus is on Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability and Community and we will continue to drive forward with our plans to be more diverse, more sustainable and leave a lasting positive impact on the countries and communities we visit.

“We know we must continue to move forward on these issues and the whole sport is united in doing this in the months and years ahead.”

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