Lewis Hamilton: Extreme E diversity must 'create genuine opportunity'

 Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has launched an initiative with Extreme E to promote diversity in motorsport.

Each team in Extreme E will create a position for a mechanic or engineer from an under-represented background.

Hamilton, who owns the X44 team in the all-electric off-road series, said it "will create genuine opportunities for the next generation".

"I can't wait to see what the candidates achieve," added Hamilton.

Hamilton, 37, set up the Hamilton Commission in 2020 after identifying a lack of representation within Formula 1 and motorsport.

Extreme E's Racing for All initiative came after the publication of the commission's report last year Accelerating Change: Improving Representation of Black People in UK Motorsport.

"We know from the findings of The Hamilton Commission that our industry is a tough place to break into, particularly for those from underrepresented backgrounds, which is why it's so important," Hamilton said.

"Extreme E is aware of the substantial barriers of opportunity and bias that exist throughout the motorsport talent pipeline, from primary school age to those already in the industry."

Extreme E began last year racing battery-powered 'electric SUV' 4x4 cars around improvised off-road circuits in locations affected by climate change, incorporating "legacy projects" which aim to provide long-term benefit to the area.

Alongside the "climate-aware" approach, each of the nine teams fielded one male and one female driver, addressing the lack of female presence in motorsport.

Hamilton's team narrowly lost the 2021 championship to former F1 title rival and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, who runs the RXR Racing team.

Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson of RXR Racing are leading Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez of X44 in the standings again this year after three rounds.

Founder and CEO of Extreme E Alejandro Agag said: "We are delighted to launch the Racing for All initiative. We are fully supportive of the findings of The Hamilton Commission and are working with our teams to provide a clear path for the brilliant engineers and mechanics of the future, who may not so readily have the opportunities to succeed."

The next round of the championship is in Antofagasta, Chile, on September 24-25.

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