World champion racing driver Lewis Hamilton has launched a new charitable foundation to tackle racial inequality and provide “opportunity and support” to young people from under-represented groups across the UK.
The Formula One star will personally provide £20million towards the project, which will seek to address some of the inequalities faced by young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds – in particular, within his own sport.
Earlier this month, the seven-time F1 world champion said helping motorsport become more diverse would be "the most valuable" thing he has achieved in his career.
A study he commissioned found wider societal issues were affecting black students' opportunities within the UK motorsport industry, as well as specific barriers within the industry itself. The report said only 1% of those who worked in F1 were black.
"I experienced first-hand how coming from an under-represented background can affect your future," said Hamilton as he launched the new programme, which is entitled ‘Mission 44’.
"Luckily for me, I was able to overcome those odds through opportunity and support. I want to ensure other young people from similar backgrounds are able to do the same.
"Change within the industry is long overdue, but we are now firmly on the journey towards transforming it for the better."
Hamilton's Mercedes team have also pledged their support in increasing diversity and team boss Toto Wolff said: "We're delighted and proud to be standing alongside Lewis.
"Lewis' determination to turn his experience into powerful and decisive action is a measure of his character and unwavering commitment to support people to fulfil their potential.
"At Mercedes, we've listened and worked closely with Lewis over the last year to understand how we can help open up our sport to achieve a more diverse and inclusive workforce."