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George Russell

Russell believes 'change is happening' as Qatar human rights record questioned

The topic of human rights has been a prominent topic at some location Formula 1 visits, including this weekend’s host in Qatar.

Russell Qatar
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Mercedes driver George Russell believes "change is happening" in Qatar with the country coming under scrutiny over its human rights record.

F1 has expanded its reach into the Middle East in recent years, with its initial foray into Bahrain and Abu Dhabi joined by newer races in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Human rights violations have been a prominent talking point upon visits to these countries, with Russell's teammate Lewis Hamilton and retired four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel leading the quest for raising awareness to such issues.

Asked for his stance on F1's visit to regions with such records, Grand Prix Drivers' Association Director Russell told media including RacingNews365.com: "I think first and foremost, as drivers we put our trust in Formula 1 to help with these decisions.

“It’s important that we do see change and I think change is happening. It obviously doesn't happen overnight.

“It’s obviously a very important topic with many places we go to.

“But I think Formula 1 and sport generally can have a really positive impact on the local culture and issues that have that they're facing.

“I hope we're we're here for the right reasons.”

Drivers are united

Drivers and teams were put in an unprecedented situation at last year's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when a missile attack near the Jeddah Corniche Circuit marred Friday's proceedings.

With such sensitive issues matched with the discussion around human rights, Russell was asked how the Drivers stand on the topic.

“We’ve had conversations in the past,” he explained.

“There were the obvious issues we had in Saudi Arabia last year where we were very united with our views and our thoughts.

“As I said, just globally, as drivers, we are putting our faith and trust in Formula 1.

“I trust in Formula 1, I trust in Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO].

“I do believe we're here for the right reasons, and I do believe change will be happening over time.”

F1 2023 Qatar Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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