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International

F1 Drivers to Face Scrutiny on Political, Religious Displays

December 21, 2022

PARIS — Formula One drivers will need permission from the sport’s governing body to display political or religious statements starting in 2023.

The FIA’s international sporting code, which governs the running of motorsport competitions, has been updated with new clauses under “breach of rules.”

It now includes: “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 its statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for international competitions…”

After F1 champion Lewis Hamilton won the Tuscan Grand Prix in September 2020, he wore a T-shirt featuring the statement “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor,” in reference to the Black woman fatally shot by police in her apartment in Louisville earlier that year.

The FIA had responded at that time by requiring drivers to remain in their race suits during post-race proceedings.

The Mercedes driver in 2021 debuted a helmet sporting a rainbow to recognize the LGBTQ+ community.

The now-retired driver Sebastian Vettel wore a special helmet promoting a message of diversity and inclusion at the Turkish GP in 2020. More recently, he highlighted environmental causes such as bee die-offs and the mining of oil from tar sands in Canada.

The FIA’s statutes include a proclamation that the governing body “shall promote the protection of human rights and human dignity, and refrain from manifesting discrimination on account of race, skin color, 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.”

 

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