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Formula One bans drivers from making political statements

Max Sherry

Published 
| Last updated 

Formula One bans drivers from making political statements

Formula One has put a blanket ban on drivers making political statements at races.

It's understood drivers wishing to make a political statement will now have to get permission from the sport's governing body first.

Within Formula One's newly-updated International Sporting Code, it claims "the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA," unless approval is given beforehand.

Motor racing's major organisation says their move mirrors the same laws handed down by the International Olympic Committee.

The decision comes during a time when more and more drivers are starting to become activists, using their platforms to reach out to their relevant fan bases about social issues close to them.

In recent years, we've seen seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton be very vocal in spreading anti-discrimination and anti-racism messages, often seen wearing a "Black Lives Matter" or "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" shirts on the grid.

But it's not just Hamilton doing his bit, with recently-retired great Sebastian Vettel wearing a rainbow t-shirt reading "Same Love" in support of the LGBTQ+ community as well as ones which highlight climate change.

Now the FIA has acted.

"The ISC has been updated in alignment with the political neutrality of sport as a universal fundamental ethical principle of the Olympic Movement, enshrined in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Code of Ethics, together with the principle of the universality set out in Article 1.2," the organisation said in a statement.

"Additionally as stated in Article 1.2 of the FIA Statutes, the FIA shall promote the protection of human rights and human dignity, and refrain from manifesting discrimination on account of race, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation or disability in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect.

"The FIA will focus on underrepresented groups in order to achieve a more balanced representation of gender and race and to create a more diverse and inclusive culture."

Earlier this year, Formula One President Mohammed ben Sulayem made his feelings on the matter known, publicly taking aim at drivers for using their platforms to support the LGBTQ community and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In an interview with GrandPrix247, ben Sulayem said: “Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health. Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time.

“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.

He added: “But do I go and pose my beliefs? No.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy.REUTERS/Instagram/lewishamilton

Topics: Formula 1, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Motorsport

Max Sherry
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