Launched in December 2020, the initiative derives its name from a plan to have over 25% of new starters at the organisation coming from under-represented groups until the end of 2025.
Mercedes says the target was exceeded in its first year, with 38% of new recruits fulfilling the definition. Female employees now account for 14% of the workforce, up from 12%, while those from ethnic minorities have risen to 6% from 3%.
Due to the constraints on technical staff numbers created by the F1 budget cap many of the new starters were on the business support side, rather than in engineering or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) fields, as the team hoped.
Mercedes has tried to improve awareness of diversity issues within the existing staff via internal education programmes, including an Accelerate Inclusion workshop.
The team also now operates a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Forum which consists of 25 team member volunteers from under-represented groups, and which meets to discuss future areas of focus.
Mercedes has worked hard to promote careers in engineering, notably via the Mulberry STEM Academy, which placed school students at the team for work experience.
A partnership with the Stemettes organisation saw 34 of its young female members mentored by team employees, while the Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers UK helped its engineering student members to visit Brackley.
The team is also a member of the Business Disability Forum, which aims to remove any barriers that disabled people might face in the workplace.
Team principal Toto Wolff said he was pleased with progress made but conceded that there was still work to do.
“In the first year of our Accelerate 25 programme we have made promising progress to develop a more diverse and inclusive team,” he said.
“Through detailed internal scrutiny and with the guidance of our excellent partners, we have been able to take the first steps on our journey in enabling access to STEM education and careers and building a pipeline of talent who we hope may consider joining us in the future.
“To see a small but significant increase in our numbers of team members from under-represented groups is a sign that we are making progress, however we remain acutely conscious that this is a long-term commitment and look forward to building on those initial steps.”
The team’s chief people officer Paul Mills agreed that a successful first year of the programme was just the start.
“I feel very proud of the enthusiastic engagement of so many of our team mates who have volunteered their time to support training, workshops, networking, mentoring and various other events,” said Mills.
“The team have enthusiastically grasped the opportunity to learn and reach out to engage with under-represented groups helping to inspire and encourage them to consider STEM careers.
“Whilst we have made a good start, there is still much to do, and this is only the beginning of our journey to make our team and our sport more inclusive and diverse.”