FIA forbids Formula One drivers from issuing political statements

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PARIS: Drivers in Formula One will no longer be permitted to express their political views during races without the FIA’s prior approval.

The organisation that oversees motorsports has introduced a new section to its International Sporting Code which prohibits F1 drivers from issuing political statements without prior permission from FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile).

As per ESPN, new article outlaws, “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.”

Drivers have started using the opportunity to speak out before and after races in recent years.

Lewis Hamilton has a history of donning T-shirts with political messages or slogans since the start of the 2020 season. He donned a T-shirt that read “Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor” on the front and “Say her name” on the back after winning the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix.

Drivers are now only permitted to wear race suits covered up to the neck at that period as a result of the FIA changing its postrace protocols in response to Hamilton’s decision to wear the shirt on the podium.

Prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix last year, Sebastian Vettel received criticism for donning a T-shirt with the Pride colours and the message “Same Love.” At racing events in the Middle East, he and Hamilton have also sported Pride colours on T-shirts and helmets.

Additionally, Vettel donned a lot of T-shirts endorsing environmental concerns.

He was sporting a shirt that said, “Stop mining tar sands — Canada’s climate crime,” at the Canadian Grand Prix.

“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 FIA said in a statement as quoted by ESPN.

“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,” it added. (ANI)

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