For Mercedes F1 team, their Austrian Boss Toto Wolff has had a longtime association with their marquee racer Lewis Hamilton, and their friendship has culminated beautifully into several path-defining moments in Formula 1. And the most recent example of their joint efforts is the launch of Ignite–a joint charitable venture which has been established by Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes AMG Patronas team with the sole aim of giving the ultimate anti-racism push that F1 truly needs.
In the last few days, there have been rampant conversations about racism in Formula 1 after Nelson Piquet’s infamous interview from 2021 sprung up where the Brazilian was heard saying offensive slurs directed at Lewis Hamilton’s race. While Formula 1 is striving to advance towards inclusivity with their motto of #WeRaceAsOne, this piece of news involving Nelson Piquet Sr. has sent them back many steps in the journey.
And Toto Wolff has decided that now, more than ever before, the launch of Ignite holds a special meaning as it aims at getting rid of racism in motorsports. And he has called on all the other F1 teams to contribute to the pledge and join the noble movement.
Toto Wolff summons all the rivals teams to take pledge against racist sentiments in Formula 1
In the days leading up to this week’s British Grand Prix, Hamilton and the Mercedes chief disclosed that the Ignite partnership is announcing its first charitable grant for Motorsport UK and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Each of the two recipients will get a sum of over £500,000 to support and induce programmes focused on giving rise to female participation in grassroots motorsport, right from the karting tournaments, and the initiative will also give out engineering scholarships for Black students.
As a staunch reply to Nelson Piquet’s horrible comments that have surface now, after a year, on Twitter, Lewis Hamilton has made a personal pledge of £20 million which will go towards the Ignite initiative from his Mission 44 charitable foundation.
While speaking on.the step that Mercedes took with Lewis for such a noble cause, Toto Wolff said, “I think what we’ve launched, we’ve put the money where our mouth is. We have put $6.2million into Ignite, that Lewis personally committed and the team.”
He also reminded everyone, “It’s not only talking, especially putting money in and setting standards that hopefully others will follow. Because we are so much in our little microcosmos here, everybody from the other teams in their little pursuit, but we’ve got to do something. This is a global platform and we need to utilise it.”