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Horner: F1 risks 'robot' drivers after political ban

Christian Horner is critical of new Formula 1 rules that prohibit drivers from making political statement without prior approval.

Christian Horner has become the latest Formula 1 figure to oppose the FIA's recent rule change on drivers making political statements. Since 2020, drivers have become more vocal over political matters, with Lewis Hamilton leading some of the drivers in taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement while Sebastian Vettel has been public with his opinions on environmental and equality topics. However, the FIA announced a change in late 2022 to come into effect on January 1st, 2023 which prohibits political statements. The likes of Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas have opposed the ban, while F1 chief Stefano Domenicali has said F1 will never "gag" drivers . And Horner has added his thoughts on the subject - believing the ban could create "robot" drivers.

Drivers will still be able to make political points, but they first must seek approval from the governing body to not be in breach of Rule 12.2.1.n of the International Sporting Code, below. "You can look at it in a couple of ways," Horner explained to Motorsport.com. "First, I think the sport should never be used as a political tool, the sport is there to entertain people and it should also be a way out. "[However], we don't want [drivers] to be some robots with no opinion who go racing, but as with all these kinds of things, there has to be a balance. "We at Red Bull have never hindered our drivers' freedom of expression or the ability to speak out. "They do have an opinion and a voice to express it and it is a matter of finding the balance. "In today's world, everyone has an opinion and that opinion should not be suppressed."

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