Hamilton pledges £20m to new Mission 44 foundation

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton DRS open 2020

Lewis Hamilton launches Mission 44.

Lewis Hamilton has announced the launch of Mission 44 to empower youngsters from under-represented groups in the UK.

The seven-time World Champion is one of Formula 1’s leading voices speaking out against many issues in both the sport and wider society, with the Hamilton Commision recently releasing its report exploring barriers to progression of black people within UK motorsport.

And now Mission 44, a charitable foundation, will look to ensure greater equality in both employment and the education system.

It has been confirmed Jason Arthur will take on the role of CEO, while Hamilton has pledged £20million which will be used “to support Mission 44’s work, including supporting organisations and programmes that narrow the gap in employment and education systems”.

Hamilton’s sponsors and brand partners will also be making contributions to Mission 44.

In addition, the Mercedes Formula 1 team and Hamilton will officially come together for the ‘Ignite’ initiative which, as part of the Mission 44 group, will focus on ensuring better representation of “diverse students studying STEM and engineering, as well as wider parts of the industry”.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates
Lewis Hamilton celebrates

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“Supporting the ambitions of under-represented young people has always been important to me and Mission 44 represents my commitment to create real change within this community,” said Hamilton.

“In my early life, I experienced first-hand how coming from an under-represented background can affect your future but, 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.

“I am so grateful that Mercedes are joining me on our initiative Ignite, with the goal to improve representation within the motorsport industry. The findings of The Hamilton Commission and its recommendations have provided us with a fantastic basis to begin our work.

“Change within the industry is long overdue, but we are now firmly on the journey towards transforming it for the better.”

Mercedes team principal and co-owner Toto Wolff added: “We are delighted and proud to be standing alongside Lewis today for the announcement of Mission 44 and the Ignite initiative.

“Lewis has long spoken about the challenges he has faced in motorsport. His determination to turn his experience into such powerful and decisive action is a measure of both his character and his unwavering commitment to support people to fulfil their potential.

“At Mercedes, we have 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 within our own team.

“The opportunity to work together through Ignite, with Mission 44 and our own Accelerate 25 programme, is both exciting and challenging.

“We are looking forward to getting started and hope our actions will enable many more people to experience the thrills of motorsport in the future.”

Arthur, Mission 44’s CEO, said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed CEO of Lewis’ newly launched Foundation, Mission 44.

“Ensuring under-represented young people receive the tools and support they need to succeed is something I have been passionate about my whole career.

“I look forward to working with Lewis, young people and a range of partners to narrow opportunity gaps and drive long-lasting change.”

Formula 1 also recently announced a new programme of scholarships, apprenticeships and intern placements to help boost diversity in the sport.