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Cowell urges F1 to adopt 'Project Pitlane' approach in quest for diversity

NEWS STORY
26/08/2020

Andy Cowell, the out-going boss of Mercedes HPP, says that the sport should adopt the same approach used in 'Project Pitlane' in its quest to improve diversity.

'Project Pitlane' was the initiative which saw seven of the UK-based F1 teams work together to produce ventilators and CPAP machines at the height of the pandemic.

Cowell believes that the sport should use a similar strategy in bringing fresh blood into F1, seeking out young talent from all backgrounds.

"It's a really important topic," he tells the official F1 website's 'Beyond The Grid' podcast, "I think we need to get into schools, into homes, we need to help people realise.

"I'm fortunate that I grew up with motorsport," her continues, "I didn't go to posh schools, I went to the local comprehensive and I never dreamed there was a career in motorsport, I didn't really realise.

"We need to go schools that are inner-city schools, not the schools that are feeding into the posh independent schools and into the Russell group universities. Those organisations have great careers offices in place already that are funded. I think we need to get into the schools that don't have the careers offices, we need to get into the areas of the country where they just don't realise what the opportunities are. I think from year seven onwards, those 11-year olds.

"Engineers provide the tools for the world, the infrastructure for the world and I think it's a great profession," he continues, "and I think it would be awesome if Formula 1 can go in and touch those schools and enthuse those school teachers that then enthuse those children and we all put effort and energy into going in and talk to them, showcasing and giving them work experience and so on.

"I think that's something F1 can do because as soon as you say it's Mercedes F1 or it's F1 doing a 'Project Pitlane' type project, it will instantly capture the attention of the kids, and then if the opening sentences are interesting, then it's like "you can do this", but you do need these subjects and you need to learn these techniques and topics, then the world can open up in those environments."

Indeed, Cowell is confident that the wider industry beyond F1 would benefit.

"It's not just about motorsport, the aerospace industry," he said. "If you look at what is going on in electric cars, multi-planetary species challenges like the SpaceX, Tesla, all these types of industries, there are those types of companies doing that sort of the work in this country.

"There are countless opportunities, but people don't realise and they tend to have a negative feeling on their own confidence and their own opportunities, so I think we should get in there and do that sort of stuff."

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1. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 27/08/2020 15:24

"How about just hire the best person and not care where they are from? Sympathy or social justice hires will always be looked at as such."

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2. Posted by Roli, 26/08/2020 16:50

"More action, less talk. Politics stink!"

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3. Posted by Batman, 26/08/2020 15:41

"I completely subscribe but less words, more actions."

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