This week, the FIA drew their line in the sand and told racers to shut up and drive. The global governing body which oversees Formula 1 just updated its rule book with a clause banning drivers from making political statements at racing events without approval.
Article 12.2.1.n states that 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 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 new rule takes effect in 2023.
The rule applies to all drivers, but let’s just keep it all the way real here. The FIA is basically pointing a finger at British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time champion is the only Black Formula 1 driver and the only one who has used his international platform to speak out on racial injustice. Hamilton made headlines for wearing a t-shirt that read, “Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor” and “Say Her Name” after he won the Tuscan Grand Prix in 2020.
Hamilton’s shirt caused a shakeup and led the FIA to tell drivers that they had to keep their driving suits on when they showed up at the podium for post-race press conferences.
Before the start of the 2022 racing season, the FIA placed limitations on the jewelry drivers are allowed to wear, a move some thought was a direct shot at Hamilton, who wears a nose ring. Hamilton’s response? “We’ve really got to start focusing on more important areas.”