Valtteri Bottas has voiced his concerns over the FIA's ban on F1 drivers displaying "political, religious and personal statements" unless approved by the governing body.
It was revealed in December that an updated International Sporting Code – taking effect from 1 January 2023 – featured a new rule reading: "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 still continues to promote its own statutes, which are against the discrimination of anybody based on "race, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation or disability."
Drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have made political gestures in recent years, and Bottas believes that such statements have been positive.
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Bottas on political statement ban
"Personally, I don't like politics," Bottas – who recently competed in the 2023 Race of Champions – told Swedish newspaper Expressen.
"I like to do what I love, which is racing, but politics is at the same time part of today’s society. I think Formula 1 has done a good job of paying attention to some of these kinds of issues and many drivers have raised their voices, including Sebastian.
"I do not understand why they want to control us. I think we should have the right to talk about what we want. That is how I see it, but we will see what happens."
Bottas is not the first figure in F1 to give his take on the rule. McLaren CEO Zak Brown has defended the FIA's attempts to "find the right balance", while Mercedes' Toto Wolff feels that there needs to be an "alignment" between the FIA and the drivers.
Elsewhere, Nico Hulkenberg has stated that the change won't greatly "affect or impact" his own stance.
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