Throughout June, in celebration of Pride Month, Aston Martin have announced a partnership with Racing Pride – a movement launched collaboratively with Stonewall in 2019 to ‘promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity within the motorsport industry and among its technological and commercial partners.’Alongside this partnership, Aston Martin will be producing content highlighting the strength of the LGBTQ+ community within the industry and feature Racing Pride logos on the car at the French Grand Prix next weekend.
During the partnership, Racing Pride will be working with the Aston Martin Team in continuing the development of their inclusivity policies, running workshops that help to build an everyday inclusive culture and develop support strategies for individual team members. They have already started this work, conducting a review of Aston Martin’s existing policies and aided with the implementation of an internal survey, an informed strategy to measure progress and through providing workshops to HR and other teams within the organisation.
Richard Morris, co-founder of Racing Pride said, “The commitment of Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team to be a leader in creating true equality – which this partnership represents – will be a source of inspiration to the LGBTQ+ community within the sport, among its global fanbase, and in broader society. It marks a hugely significant step in Racing Pride’s journey to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusion through motorsport.”
Aston Martin’s Team Principle, Otmar Szafnauer added, “Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team is committed to being a safe and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community, and our alliance with Racing Pride enables us to further that ambition […] we’re delighted to be able to communicate a more pro-active stance – especially across Pride Month – but we’re committed to equality within the organisation, and this is a measurable step for us to undertake to showcase that determination. Additionally, we hope our engagement with this issue will act as a beacon for the rest of the motorsport world to follow our example.”
Szafnauer’s emphasis on pro-action and his team serving as an example for others to follow are incredibly important points. As an industry, Formula 1 has undergone a reckoning in terms of its diversity and inclusivity over this last year. It has set up its ‘We Race As One’ initiative in June 2020 to ‘fight challenges of COVID-19 and global inequality’, and time was allocated in the pre-race programme for drivers demonstrate their anti-racism stances before the start of each race. But these actions were often criticised for their rushed nature and the lack of unity shown by the drivers with some taking a knee and others standing. Lewis Hamilton called out F1 and its governing body the FIA in July for not doing enough to tackle discrimination. This year, while there is still ‘a moment before the start of each race…to show our united support for important issues’, the rainbow logo will no longer feature.
In fighting to end discrimination of all kinds, an industry such as Formula 1 should be tackling issues head on, affirming its anti-discrimination stance by specifically addressing direct issues of racism, homophobia and sexism…
These actions are not as strong as they could be, nor should be. In fighting to end discrimination of all kinds, an industry such as Formula 1 should be tackling issues head on, affirming its anti-discrimination stance by specifically addressing direct issues of racism, homophobia and sexism, which would surely be more impactful than their use of fighting inequality as an umbrella term. The drivers themselves have been far more powerful in this. Hamilton leads his sport, and with the establishment of his commission into the barriers Black people face breaking into the industry, he is determined to leave it in a far better place than what he entered into.
Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel has supported Hamilton as he challenged F1 and the FIA, and of his team’s partnership with Racing Pride said, “I want to help highlight the positivity around the message of inclusion and acceptance. I congratulate the people who have pushed the discussion that has led to wider inclusion; but, equally, I’m aware that more needs to be done to change attitudes and remove much of the remaining negativity. It is great to see Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team giving this issue support – there is a long road ahead, but I’m really pleased we can play a positive role.”
His teammate, Lance Stroll also recognised the important of the partnership, stating, “As a racing driver and a public figure, I’m passionate about building inclusion within the motorsport world. I’m already involved in helping to develop a STEM programme with Cognizant for young engineering students, but this initiative is a way we can be pro-active as a team in breaking down barriers and fostering positivity. It’s also a great way for us to support Formula 1’s wider #WeRaceAsOne initiative, and I’m pleased that our team has found its own unique way to add its support to a very credible programme that’s been taken up by teams up and down the pit-lane.”
Aston Martin’s partnership with Racing Pride and the work they can do together is a great step forward. It can only be hoped that other teams and those in the sport’s leadership follow suit, specifically and explicitly engaging with events such as Pride Month to encourage a more a more diverse and inclusive industry.
For more content including uni news, reviews, entertainment, lifestyle, features and so much more, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like our Facebook page for more articles and information on how to get involved.