FIA Bans F1 Drivers From Making Political Statements

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
fia bans f1 drivers from making political statements

The FIA is reportedly putting an end to any independently-led political activism within Formula 1 and any other motorsport it currently oversees. While this could be a blessing to those tired of witnessing the likes of Sir Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton constantly pushing environmental issues before his multi-million dollar F1 car is loaded onto the sixth cargo plane of the season, it seems likely that organizers will still allow the kind of activism that they’re in broad alignment with.

In fact, the FIA has specified that what’s unacceptable is actually “non-neutral political, religious or personal” statements – presumably meaning whatever speech it likes will qualify as neutral and thereby acceptable. The reality of the situation is that the FIA (or Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) is already a highly political organization and is directly affiliated with the World Health Organization, UN Environment Programme, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Whether or not you happen to be in agreement with their policies, those are organizations with overt social and political agendas that FIA has backed in the past.

In 2020, Formula 1 also launched its We Race As One campaign. The initiative was, according to the FIA, designed to tackle “the biggest issues facing our sport and global communities, underpinning the Formula 1 strategy to make a tangible difference in the world in which we race.” Initially, the movement focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the general premise of inequality. However, it branched out to embrace Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) scoring and shifting the world toward “Sustainability, Diversity and inclusion, and Community” driven lifestyles. The campaign likewise updated its logo to include a pride rainbow that included colors denoting support for transgenderism.

That’s about every hot-button political issue that exists right now and Formula 1 took a side on every single item. But this seems at odds with prohibiting drivers from doing the same.

The new rule was uncovered while Autosport was parsing through the updated version of the FIA's International Sporting Code. Article 12.2.1.n clearly states that drivers will be in violation of the rules by "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."

Bingo. So you have to comply with the FIA’s preferred political agenda or face the consequences.

Considering how frequently drivers have engaged in activism over the last several years, it makes sense that the governing body would consider rule changes that would tamp down displays that might distract from the race. But the FIA is just as guilty as the drivers here, if not more so. We’re not sure if this is simply a case of organizers trying to solve a problem and not understanding their own role in the matter or if the FIA just wants to prohibit narratives it disagrees with. At the very least, the updated rules should allow the organization to distance itself from anything that takes place on the podium. There’s actually a provision speaking directly to that in the updated International Sporting Code warning that drivers could be sanctioned if they fail “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."

[Image: motorsports Photographer/Shutterstock]

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2 of 15 comments
  • TyL TyL on Dec 22, 2022

    The ascension of Mohammed bin Sulayem (Dubai/UAE) to FIA president has been a gigantic step in the wrong direction for FIA/F1.

    This is the same backwards/regressive rules that patrons and athletes had to deal with at the World Cup in Qatar.

  • Bobbysirhan Bobbysirhan on Dec 23, 2022

    Nobody who claims they care has anything to worry about. This isn't about Lewis Hamilton using lies about Fernandez Bowman's murderess to burn minority owned businesses and shake down corporate America so his fellow racists could buy mansions. Vettel calling out Hungary for protecting its children from groomers wasn't the reason for a call to stop unapproved protests. This is about protecting eastern countries from complaints about their current use of slaves and other human rights abuses. The WEF loves the fruits of slave labor, especially when the slaves have the tiny fingers that allow them to assemble Apple circuit boards. But they certainly won't do anything to curtail multimillionaires continuing to the protest against freedom, security and safe children in the west.

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