(GMM) F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has denied that the sport he leads has a problem with racism.
The racism narrative is still circulating after Lewis Hamilton led other drivers in the ‘kneeling’ gesture before grands prix last year.
Formula 1, now led by Domenicali following the recent departure of Chase Carey, has indicated that the kneeling may not happen in 2021.
“Down on a knee, knees up – these things have different meanings depending on where you are in the world,” Domenicali told the Daily Mail.
“I want to discuss the knee with the drivers. We do not want to be focused on a single gesture,” said the Italian.
“There is a big platform before races but we do not want to maximize it in a political way. We want to highlight values that are important to the world and to Formula 1.”
Domenicali, the former Ferrari team boss, denied that Formula 1 is racist, despite seven time world champion Hamilton insisting that “inequities within our sport and within the world persist”.
“I don’t perceive that,” said Domenicali when asked if F1 has a problem.
“At least I don’t see that from personal experience. In truth, (it’s) the other way round. Formula 1 started in certain parts of the world – Europe – but it has moved into other areas and multiculturalism is growing.”
A similar stance has been taken by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who Domenicali says he speaks to “almost every week”.
It is a stark departure from the relationship between Domenicali’s predecessor, Chase Carey, who had effectively banned Ecclestone from the races.
“I get on well with Bernie,” Domenicali said. “He said to let him know if I need advice. Formula 1 without Bernie, I’m sorry, would not be what it is today.
“You must not forget he is a pioneer in understanding the opportunity presented by cars being driven around the track and building the right enthusiasm, structure and business,” he added.
“I have a lot of admiration for him and what he did. His paddock pass is ready and I hope he can come to races.”