FIA restricts political statements from F1 drivers

FIA restricts political statements from F1 drivers

December 21, 2022

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Formula One’s governing body, has added a new article to its International Sporting Code. The new article categorically specifies that Formula One drivers will no longer be allowed to make political, religious or personal statements at race events without prior permission from the FIA. 

The new rule will mostly like cover crash helmet and T-shirt designs, which certain drivers on the grid have worn to raise awareness about various issues such as racial and LGBTQ+ discrimination.

A number of drivers of the years have used the platform they have and made various statements during race events. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton for a number races has worn T-shirts before the race with with political messages. He wore the “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” and “Say her name” T-shirts during the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, bringing to light the murder of Breonna Taylor. Four-time world champion and recent retiree Sebastian Vettel is another driver who has worn T-shirts with political messages and has showed support for the LGBTQ+ community. Vettel was even penalised by the FIA for wearing a T-shirt with Pride colours and the “Same Love” phrase at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Vettel has also brought forward important environmental issues through messages on his T-shirts at races such as the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix and the 2022 Miami Grand Prix. 

The new Article 12.2.1.n now states:

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 under its Statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction.

The FIA has also stated that:

Failure to comply with the instructions of the FIA regarding the appointment and participation of persons during official ceremonies at any Competition counting towards a FIA Championship.

The FIA’s new ruling comes at a time when international sports bodies have taken heavy criticism for their handling of such matters. FIFA most recently threatened to issue sanctions against teams if their captains wore rainbow armbands during the recently concluded men’s football World Cup in Qatar. 

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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