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F1 2023

FIA bans F1 drivers from making 'political' statements without approval

The FIA has moved to ban F1 drivers from making "political, religious and personal statements" without prior consent.

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Tuscan Grand Prix
To news overview © FIA Pool Image for Editorial Use

A ban has been placed on the displaying of "political, religious and personal statements" by F1 drivers, unless approved by the FIA.

In recent seasons, the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have attempted to use their platform to highlight topics and issues.

Hamilton and Vettel have predominantly tried to tackle equality and issues surrounding social injustice: Hamilton previously wore T-shirts saying "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" and "Black lives matter".

Vettel has previously been reprimanded for not removing an LGBTQ+ rights T-shirt, and earlier this year fell foul of the Canadian authorities by displaying a message “Stop mining tar sands”.

The FIA issued an updated International Sporting Code, which is set to take effect from 1st January 2023.

"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" will now be considered a breach of the regulations.

The majority of offences in the International Sporting Code can lead to punishments up to race bans and €250,000 fines, although no guidelines for these specific offences have been issued.

The new rule (12.2.1.n) 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 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."

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