Following a modification to the International Sporting Code, Formula One drivers will require written authorization from the sport’s governing body before making “political remarks.” This will commence in the 2023 season as fans bet online.
The same body oversees Formula One and other racing series throughout the world. Without the organization’s authorization, drivers are prohibited from making political statements. Article 12.2.1n prohibits drivers from “generally making and displaying political, religious, or personal statements or comments that violate the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA.”
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) published the latest version of the 2023 code on its website. This code applies to all FIA-approved racing series.
The FIA introduced a new provision about “usually making and presenting political, religious, or personal views or thoughts in a way that goes beyond the FIA’s general principle of neutrality as specified in its statutes.”
Unless the FIA has granted prior written approval, a driver who makes such a statement violates the rules.
Hamilton and Vettel Were Vocal
The new rule is particularly detrimental to Lewis Hamilton. The Formula 1 driver with the most career victories has never been reluctant to speak out on matters of social justice. Lewis Hamilton, a seven-time world champion for Mercedes, and Sebastian Vettel, a four-time world champion now retired, have both made political remarks during previous races.
Hamilton is a staunch advocate for human rights and diversity. At the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, he donned a black T-shirt that read “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.” On the shirt was a photograph of the black medical assistant killed by police officers in her Louisville, Kentucky home, along with the phrase “Say her name.”
Taylor was a medical professional from Louisville, Kentucky, who was black. During a drug investigation, cops attempted to execute a no-knock warrant at her residence and shot her inside.
After Hamilton wore the Taylor shirt, the FIA modified its regulations to require drivers to wear fire suits during post-race interviews and celebrations.
Sebastian Vettel, who has just left Formula One, has become more vocal in his final years there. Like Hamilton, Vettel has used his helmet to support social causes and has not been reluctant to speak about environmental and climatic issues.
In addition, Vettel wore a shirt supporting LGBTQ rights before the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. Before the national anthem before the race, he was in trouble for not removing his “Same Love” T-shirt. Gay marriage is prohibited by law in Hungary.
He donned a T-shirt with the phrase “Stop mining tar sands: Canada’s climate crime” to the Canadian Grand Prix last year. The reference was to the oil sands project in Alberta.
Before he changed into his customary race colors, this text was also on his helmet. People believed that F1 or his crew were putting him under pressure. This was not true at the time.
No one knows what prompted the recent FIA crackdown, but the group in command has demonstrated in the past that it does not appreciate political comments.
Typically, though, this has been associated with podium stunts.
FIA Strict on the New Rule
The FIA has a rule that stipulates it works to protect human rights and human dignity. It will not discriminate based on race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political views, family situation, or disability in any of its activities or actions in this area.
The FIA will prioritize underrepresented groups to achieve a more equitable representation of gender and ethnicity and to make society more accepting of diversity.” However, it is crucial to highlight that Formula One races are held in various countries with unjust laws. One is Qatar, which faced difficulties preparing for the 2022 World Cup.
In 2006, the organizers of the Turkish Grand Prix were fined $5 million because Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat presented the winner’s trophy and was announced as the “President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” a title recognized exclusively by Turkey.
After the mayor of Jerez, Spain, appeared on the podium by mistake in 1997, the Jerez track was likewise removed from the F1 schedule.
The FIA has added podium protocol to the International Sporting Code.
Even if there appears to be a vague rationale for the latest FIA regulation change, it is not ordinary for the governing body to take such actions.
The FIA implemented jewelry restrictions before the 2022 season. Many people believed that the regulation was intended for Hamilton, but he openly opposed it, stating, “We need to start focusing on more essential areas.”