Lewis Hamilton will be working with a South African engineer in 2022

Lewis Hamilton is the only black driver on the F1 grid
Lewis Hamilton is the only black driver on the F1 grid

Lewis Hamilton’s push to bring more diversity to F1 is starting to show some results. Mercedes have hired a black South-African engineer to work on their powertrains.

Shau Mafuna has joined Mercedes HPP (High-Performance Powertrains) that supplies power units to four F1 teams. It includes the work for the Mercedes-AMG F1 team—as a mechanical engineer.

As reported by the Sunday Times, Mafuna—who holds dual Belgian and South Africa citizenship—was offered his new role in November 2020. Prior to that, he worked with the team as a Product Engineer on the Work Experience Academy (WEA) programme.

Mafuna was one of many who were invited to work with the F1 team in 2020 as part of the WEA programme. He was quoted by the Sunday Times as describing his job as “one of (his) wildest dreams.”

Furthermore, In his LinkedIn profile, Mafuna, describing his experience with motorsports and his new job at Mercedes wrote:

“I am an experienced qualified Engineer with a strong passion and history in the Motorsports industry. After having competed for multiple years at various levels of auto-racing, I am taking my passion that much further into the engineering side of vehicle dynamics and performance engineering.”

Lewis Hamilton has often spoken about the lack of diversity in motorsports, especially F1. Being the only mixed-race driver in the top flight of motorsport, Hamilton can use his position to bring about positive change.

In the wake of the George Floyd incident in mid-2020, Mercedes decided to show solidarity with the black community by switching to a black livery from their traditional silver livery.

Furthermore, they launched several initiatives in partnership with Lewis Hamilton to bring greater diversity to motorsport. It also helped them achieve greater racial, gender, and ethnic diversity within the F1 team.

The WEA programme is one such initiative. With more than a million dollars in funding, it aims to encourage children from diverse backgrounds to get into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) fields.

Lewis Hamilton wants to see more “raw talent” in F1

Lewis Hamilton wants more “raw talent” from humble backgrounds to turn up in F1. The seven-time F1 world champion feels that every child deserves the same opportunity and hopes there will be greater diversity within the sport in the future.

Speaking to BBC sport in 2020, Hamilton said:

“We all bleed the same blood; we all need the same opportunities. Right now, there are 40,000 jobs within the motorsport industry and only one percent are from black backgrounds.”

Hamilton, in addition to being the only black driver in F1, is also one of the only two drivers (along with Esteban Ocon) on the grid to have had a humble background.

Despite facing discrimination in his junior career, Lewis Hamilton managed to overcome those odds. He now wants to help the next generation take up the sport and fight through, much like he did.

Also Read: What is a F1 Engine? - F1 Engine Explained

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