Positive Action: Motorsport UK’s commitment to creating a sustainable future
The investment strategy Motorsport UK announced at the end of 2019 is fundamental to helping the sport grow and ensuring its sustainability for the long-term. Central to this effort is the creation of two new committees, which will pool expertise from within the organisation and also from industry, education and beyond, as well as working in collaboration with the FIA.
Motorsport UK is leading the way in building a sport that is accessible to all, and equipped to capitalise on any opportunities and weather any challenge. The new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee will be devoted to broadening all pathways into motorsport (and the industries supporting it) – while the Sustainability Committee will seek to futureproof the sport by ensuring it can respond to environmental, technical and economic challenges.
These may be two distinct topics, each requiring its own panel of experts and dedicated initiatives, but it is inevitable that there will be a degree of overlap in their activities going forward. Motorsport UK has articulated a clear position in relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, devising a strategy to deliver on the vision for grassroots sport, as well as directing budget and resources to make it more affordable to all. The organisation’s determination to effect positive change is made clear in a statement by Chairman David Richards on its website.
The EDI Committee, chaired by Motorsport UK Board Director Catherine Bond Muir of the W Series, will lead a working group comprising a diverse range of members from within and outside the organisation. It will work closely with the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission and its initiatives such as Girls on Track – Rising Stars. With the support of Scuderia Ferrari, this project seeks to identify the most promising 12-16-year-old female drivers from around the world and support them in personal development at this critical stage of their careers. Two British drivers – Jessica Edgar and Ella Stevens – are among those selected by the FIA to participate in the programme, which ultimately aims to find Ferrari’s first-ever female professional drivers and serves to highlight the opportunities beyond driving, be that as race mechanics, engineers, officials or team management.
The W Series, and its British champion Jamie Chadwick, have already done a fantastic job of demonstrating that women can compete and forge a career at the highest levels of a traditionally male-dominated sport. More generally, the fact that motorsport is among the few sports where men and women can compete against each other on a level playing field, places the onus on making sure that they have equal opportunity to do so.
The EDI Committee will also embrace the role of Safeguarding in the sport, with Motorsport UK’s Head of Safeguarding, Linda Medlicott, implementing schemes including NSPCC Child Protection in Sport standards, while offering guidance and support to those within the sport who have experienced or witnessed bullying, harassment or victimisation. The aim is to ensure that everyone who participates in motorsport is protected and educated about Motorsport UK’s Safeguarding measures. The Sustainability Committee, chaired by David Lapworth, will work closely with the EDI Committee, while focusing on its specific role of addressing the sport’s commitment to environmental and technological development. The wider automotive industry is evaluating how it must recalibrate in response to the pandemic and a changing consumer landscape, including the increasing appetite for hybrid, electric and other alternative fuel vehicle technologies.
With many of these manufacturers also involved in motorsport, it is therefore vital that the governing body is one step ahead in making sure the sport is equipped to adapt, as it has with the recent guidelines helping clubs and race organisers run series for Electrified Vehicles. This effort reflects the wider purpose the sport must serve if it is to remain relevant to society. It also recognises the motorsport related career opportunities in the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with the companies in this field ideally placed to innovate and lead into this more environmentally conscious age. These opportunities require a suitably skilled workforce, and the educational opportunities for youngsters of all backgrounds to acquire the STEM skills to equip them for working in this exciting and rewarding sector. This brings us full circle to the work of the EDI Committee and its dedication to breaking down barriers.
Motorsport UK is seeking expressions of interest for its two new committees
Individuals wishing to be part of shaping the future of motorsport in the UK are invited to submit their expression of interest to join either the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee or the Sustainability Committee. All applications must be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 September 2020. Please indicate the applicable committee. All applications will be acknowledged.