Sir Lewis Hamilton: Students begin motorsport scholarship

Jonathan Keeya and Amjad Saeed

Two university students are among the first to begin a new motorsport scholarship, thanks to a grant from a charity founded by Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Amjad Saeed and Jonathan Keeya started their master’s degrees in motorsport engineering in September.

The pair, studying at Oxford Brookes, are part of a scheme to encourage more people from black or mixed black ethnic backgrounds into UK motorsport.

Mr Saeed said it meant “so much” to him to be part of the scholarship.

He said seeing Sir Lewis “being the exception, someone that looks like me dominate a sport like that, it just inspires me”.

“I feel that the scholarship will give me the opportunity to inspire people my age… that you can actually go out and do stuff like this,” he added.

Mr Keeya said: “He was someone you could look up to, as he’s young but he’s making a difference in an area he wants to succeed in.

“It being an area I want to succeed in, I can take those same values and be aggressive, and positively go towards the goals I want to achieve.”

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning his sixth world championship after the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas

PA Media

Mr Saeed and Mr Keeya are among five students to receive a fully-funded scholarship of £25,000 to cover tuition fees and living expenses from the Mission 44 charity.

Founded by the seven-times Formula 1 World Champion, it aims to boost diversity within the industry.

Sir Lewis previously told the BBC how he wanted to “improve the pipeline” for children from diverse backgrounds to work in industries around science, technology, engineering and mathematics, following the Hamilton Commission report.

He said: “There are thousands and thousands of jobs, over 40,000 jobs within the industry [motorsport], and only 1% for example, come from black backgrounds and there are very few women in the industry, which is also not enough.

“So there’s a huge amount of work to increase diversity and gender equality and these are the things that I hope to achieve with my charity.”

Gordana Collier, head of school of engineering, computing and mathematics at the university, said the students would be “learning all aspects of mechanical engineering, but it will all be on the example of a race car”.

She added: “So it’s really hardcore chartered engineer-level mechanical engineering, but every time we talk about physics, we talk about racing cars.”

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