Lewis Hamilton will wear a Black Lives Matter tribute race helmet as he attempts to equal Michael Schumacher's record of seven Formula One world championships this year.
Hamilton, the only Black driver in F1's history, unveiled the new helmet, carrying a predominantly black design with a tinge of purple, ahead of this weekend's season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. The traditional slogan he has carried on the back of the helmet in recent seasons, "Still I Rise," has been tweaked to "Still We Rise".
Hamilton's Mercedes team has already changed its 2020 car's livery to all black, a move away from its traditional silver, as part of a public pledge to improve diversity within its team and the sport itself. Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas will also wear all-black race suits for the new season.
Speaking on his social media channels, Hamilton pointed to the Black Lives Matter logo on the top and said: "This is the whole reason that the helmet has changed colour, my suit has and also the car, it's supporting equality above all and just really trying to solidify that support that message."
Ahead of the opening race, Hamilton said the 2020 championship has taken on added meaning in the context of a year that has seen a wave of protests after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed while in Minneapolis police custody. Hamilton said he wants to keep the message at the forefront of F1 this season.
"We now currently have the mic and people are starting to listen, so it's an opportunity to push that message and really hold people accountable, brands and Formula One," he said. "Everyone here needs to be held accountable and open to educate themselves, open to understanding why the Black Lives [Matter] movement is happening and why around the world we need to be pushing for equality, because it's not enough.
"Even if someone says they've been doing something, or 'we've been trying,' then they need to try harder, as it's still a big issue. That the world is still fighting 60 years later, Martin Luther King was fighting for it and gave his life ... that's what it's about."