September 18, 2023

Mercedes F1 Team Expands Diversity And Inclusion Mentorship Program With Second Cohort

Lewis Hamilton

The Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One (F1) team, fronted by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, is expanding its Accelerate 25 program.

The mentorship program launched in 2020 in partnership with the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers (AFBE-UK) and other organizations and is preparing to welcome its second cohort of students.

Accelerate 25

Accelerate 25 is a five-year program that marked the formalization of Mercedes’ vision to become a more diverse and inclusive team.

To begin the new Accelerate 25 program, they aimed to raise their entry standards and, until 2025, seek at least 25% of all new starters in their team to come from underrepresented groups. 

The team also began their education program with around 200 recruiters at the crew having completed Unconscious Bias training and 150 managers completing a programme called “Inclusive Excellence”.

Partnership with The Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers

The Mercedes F1 team partnered with the AFBE-UK to encourage and support people of color into engineering through the mentorship program.

Established in 2007 by Dr Nike Folayan MBE and Dr Ollie Folayan, AFBE-UK works to inspire people of color to study engineering and support them while doing so.

AFBE-UK has already developed a network of over 10,000 people of color across the UK in various engineering industries.

The partnership with the Mercedes F1 team also enabled team members to support young engineers and encourage their career aspirations professionally.

In February of 2023, they celebrated the end of their six-month mentorship program with AFBE and brought the team mentors and their mentees together for a closing ceremony.

“As a result of the program, many mentees are now interested in careers within motorsport. They now understand better how they can get into the industry,” said Dr Awai Collins-Harrison, Co-Chair of AFBE on LinkedIn.

A Second Cohort For The Program

In 2021, the Mercedes team reported that 38% of new team members were from underrepresented groups. However, many new starters had Business Support rather than engineering and STEM-related roles.

Continued partnerships with organizations like AFBE-UK aim to address this.

AFBE-UK last week announced the program was looking to recruit a second cohort of students and graduates to partake in their mentorship program.

“Mentees selected will undergo a mentorship program with Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 team members for the duration of a year with the aim to equip you for roles or placements at the team,” the post read.

“Alongside the mentoring itself, there will be other activities provided to equip them with the relevant tools to start and succeed in a career in Motorsport.”

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.