The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Motor Racing’s governing body, recently announced that Formula 1’s updated sporting code will ban drivers from making “political, religious, and personal statements,” during events.
“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, according to ESPN.
They added, “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.”
However, they specifically outlined that Formula 1 drivers are prohibited from “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.”
Formula 1 drivers respond to highly controversial issues
Over the last few years, Formula 1 drivers have become more outspoken about social justice, including 37-year-old Lewis Hamilton who wore a shirt that said “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” following his Tuscan Grand Prix win in 2020. After this event, Formula 1 changed the rules about what is allowed to be worn on the podium after races.
“People do talk about sports not being a place for politics. Ultimately it’s human rights issues and in my opinion that is something we should be pushing towards,” Hamilton told the WSJ after the occurrence. “Lots of rules have been written for me over the years and that hasn’t stopped me.”
In addition to Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, a German formula 1 driver, has been outspoken about the environmental impact that racing causes. Specifically, during his retirement announcement, he critiqued the sport.
“My passion comes with certain aspects that I have learned to dislike. They might be solved in the future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much, much stronger and has to be leading to action today,” the driver wrote. “Talk is not enough and we cannot afford to wait. There is no alternative. The race is underway. My best race is still to come. I believe in moving forward and moving on. Time is a one-way street and I want to go with the times.”
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