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George Russell

Russell slams FIA clampdown on free speech

The FIA's controversial ban on the display of political, religious and personal statements has been met with considerable opposition from several key F1 figures, with George Russell the latest to voice his displeasure.

Russell Brazil
To news overview © XPBimages

George Russell is the latest F1 driver to have criticised the FIA's ruling on what drivers may and may not say in public.

In December, motorsport's global governing body updated the International Sporting Code, introducing a ban on the display of political, religious and personal statements unless previously approved in writing.

The ruling has been met with opposition from several key F1 figures, including Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, along with drivers Max Verstappen, Alex Albon, Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris, with Russell now joining the ever-growing chorus of voices against the FIA clampdown.

"I am not too sure why the FIA has taken a stance like this," Russell – who is also a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, the trade union of F1 drivers – told media including RacingNews365.com.

"It is totally unnecessary in the sport and in the world we live in at the moment.

"I would like to think it has all been some kind of misunderstanding, but on that I am not too sure.

"We are not going to limit our views or thoughts because of some silly regulation. We are all here to have free speech and share whatever views we have."

Russell hoping for resolution before Bahrain GP

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has also waded into the debate, saying last week that F1 "would never put a gag on anyone."

Russell added that he expected a suitable resolution to be reached before the first Grand Prix weekend of the 2023 season in Bahrain from 3-5 March.

"I hope and trust it will be resolved before the first race," said Russell.

"I can't imagine they want to restrict us from any of our views, this is a part of freedom of speech and we have our right to share our views across whatever platform we wish.

"So I don't see this being a concern moving forward."

RacingNews365.com understands that the FIA is in the process of clarifying the guidelines as to what is and is not allowed from drivers, with this information expected to be released shortly.

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