Formula 1 drivers told not to use sport for 'personal agenda'

Formula 1 drivers told not to use sport for ‘personal agenda’

Drivers will need written permission to make “political, religious and personal statements”, the head of the governing body said.

Formula 1 drivers must not use the platform to make statements for their own “personal agenda”, the president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) has said.

From next season, drivers will need written permission from the FIA, Formula 1’s governing body, to make “political, religious and personal statements”, Mohammed Ben Sulayem said on Tuesday.

“We are concerned about building bridges,” Ben Sulayem told reporters. “You can use sport for peace reasons, … but one thing we don’t want is for the FIA ​​to be a platform for a private personal agenda. We will turn away from sport. What does the driver do best? Conduct. They are so good at it, and they do the trick. They make the show. These are the stars. Nobody stops them.

“There are other platforms to express what they want. Everyone has that, and they are welcome to go through the FIA ​​process, to go through it.”

Former world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were among the top drivers who voiced their personal opinions in recent seasons.

Hamilton has championed human rights and racial equality while addressing LGBTQ rights in conservative countries like Saudi Arabia, which has hosted two F1 races since 2021.

Vettel, who retired last year, highlighted issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to climate change.

Ben Sulayem dismissed the idea that the FIA ​​was restricting drivers’ freedom of expression, saying he wanted to “improve and clean up” the sport.

“I have my personal stuff, but that doesn’t mean I will use the FIA ​​to do it,” said Ben Sulayem, a former rally driver from the United Arab Emirates.

“The FIA ​​should be neutral, I believe,” he said. “We need superstars to play sports. If there is something, you take permission. Otherwise, if they make another mistake, it’s like speeding in the pit lane. If you do, what you get is very clear.

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