‘Shame on the FIA’: Formula 1 drivers urged to fight ban on freedom of expression

Formula 1 drivers have been urged to take a stand against “brutal” new rules that prevent them from making political, religious or personal statements without prior written consent.

It follows a controversial amendment to the FIA’s Sport Code which now explicitly states that entrants will be in violation if they make or display “significantly political, religious and personal statements or comments in breach of the general principle of neutrality … unless they have been previously approved in writing.” .from the FIA”.

It is not yet known what the penalty will be, but the list of potential penalties for any breach of the rule ranges from a warning or reprimand to a fine, driving penalty, suspension or even disqualification. However, the last two penalties only apply to “serious” or exceptionally dangerous accidents.

The FIFA World Cup was initially overshadowed by the threat of sporting sanctions against any player wearing a “One Love” armband and sports representatives have now accused the FIA ​​of “taking a page out of FIFA’s rules of play to silence athletes”.

Some drivers, notably Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, have been increasingly willing to make political statements, and Global Athlete chief executive Rob Koehler said the FIA ​​had no moral authority to limit drivers’ freedom of expression.

“There is no sport without athletes,” Koehler said. “It is blatant hypocrisy to tell athletes to stick to their sports and stay out of politics while the FIA ​​is constantly working to leverage politics to their advantage.

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and the rules of sport cannot replace human rights. Many people view athletes as agents of change. The example set by the FIA ​​is that every child, youth and adult who watches sport should remain silent about issues of social justice It’s simply wrong. A shame on the FIA. Athletes are human beings first, athletes second.”

Koehler then also highlighted how Olympic and Paralympic athletes stand up to the governing bodies.

“It is also clear that the FIA ​​is taking a page from FIFA’s playbook to silence the athletes,” he said. “In 2020, athletes have taken a stand against the International Olympic Committee and the IPC for forcing them to relax their rules on freedom of expression. I hope drivers will do the same. This is brutal.”

The FIA ​​said it changed Article 12.2.1.n. “to align with the practices of other similar international sports organizations such as FIFA, the IOC and FIBA ​​with regard to the issue of neutrality”. He added that the blog had been expanded “to include statements/comments that violate the general principle of neutrality.” It is currently unclear, however, what issues might run counter to the ‘neutrality’ clause given that F1’s official ‘We Race As One’ initiative currently focuses on ‘sustainability, diversity, inclusion and community’.

Another new amendment to the law stresses that it will also be a breach if drivers fail to “comply with the FIA’s instructions regarding the appointment and participation of persons during official ceremonies”.

Hamilton, who has supported the Black Lives Matter movement, wore a T-shirt at the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix that read, “Catch the Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor.” Taylor was an African-American woman who was shot and killed by a plainclothes policeman in her apartment in March 2020.

He has also spoken out on issues of race and diversity within F1, setting up the Hamilton Committee which aims to improve “representation of black people in UK motorsport”.

Vettel wore a rainbow ‘Same Love’ T-shirt during the pre-race national anthem ceremony at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix in protest of LGBTQ legislation in the country. He was reprimanded by the agents but was not remorseful.

“I would do it again,” he said. Vettel also carried slogans and statements highlighting climate change.

#Shame #FIA #Formula #drivers #urged #fight #ban #freedom #expression

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *