Daniel Ricciardo won’t be the only Australian featuring in McLaren orange at the Australian Grand Prix.
He will be joined by DeadlyScience, a local nonprofit which is set to become the first Indigenous brand displayed on a Formula One car. Its logo will join major sponsors on the McLaren livery and be seen by millions of viewers around the world as Melbourne hosts its first GP since 2019 after two consecutive Covid-19 cancellations.
DeadlyScience’s logo will feature on cars as part of a new initiative between McLaren and software sponsor, Smartsheet. Called Sponsor X, it aims to put a worthy cause front and centre by offering up Smartsheet’s prominent logo spot to less-generously-resourced organisations.
Founded by Kamilaroi man Corey Tutt, DeadlyScience provides remote Australian communities with educational resources and mentoring, and has so far shipped more than 20,000 books and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) resources to more than 100 communities across Australia.
“I want people to get behind DeadlyScience as a community organisation, and really be proud of this grassroots charity that started off in the heart of Redfern,” said Tutt.
“We want to make sure that every single child in this country has access to STEM resources and the same opportunities as those in the city.”
Tutt started the charity after becoming disillusioned with what he saw as pre-conscious biases and under-resourcing that often resulted in rural Indigenous children being dissuaded from pursuing careers in STEM.
“We tend to only celebrate Aboriginal people when they go into sport or art,” he said. “But actually, our people are good at many different things.
“On our $50 note you’ll notice Davey Unaipon, who’s one of Australia’s greatest inventors. We’re OK to celebrate this proud Aboriginal man on our $50 note, but most people don’t even know who he is.
“However, the images we see of scientists in this country are Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison. But actually, in this country, we are the first scientists, first engineers, first chemists, and everyone that’s born in this country should be proud of that.
“We should be proud of the fact that our First Nations people invented bread.”
Tutt said he would often work two jobs to make enough money to pay the delivery fees associated with sending resources to remote communities. He hoped the added exposure would help drive donations and interest in the charity’s work.
“To post a box of books or a microscope costs between $60 to $150. I’ve gone into Australia Post and dropped $1,000 on postage just to get stuff out to communities. It is very expensive.”
As part of Sponsor X, DeadlyScience will also be provided with free software licences, consultant hours and training.
“Yeah, I’m really excited to see Sponsor X come to life. A lot of this is going to change a lot of lives,” Tutt said.
“The mob are really proud that we’re gonna be on this car. And it’s just really exciting. And it’s a proud moment for me, my family and everyone that is part of DeadlyScience.”