Formula 1 personnel and all involved with FIA-sanctioned events will now need permission to speak out on matters of interest to them when at a race event sanctioned by the FIA.
What they do on their personal time away from the track is their own business. If Lewis Hamilton wants to march in a Black Lives Matter protest in some city that protests the tens of thousands of blacks killed by other blacks every year, he is free to do so. Unfortunately, the Black Lives matter movement is completely silent on that issue, so he’ll have to protest something else.
He could wander into a forest and hug a tree with his buddy Sebastian Vettel, and the FIA will have absolutely no issue with that.
The FIA had already moved to impose some restrictions on these political statements, banning the wearing of T-shirts on the podium for such purposes, but now the governing body has outlawed such actions in the International Sporting Code.
The amendment now prohibits “the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its Statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction.”
In addition, it is now also stated in the ISC that “failure to comply with the instructions of the FIA regarding the appointment and participation of persons during official ceremonies at any Competition counting towards a FIA Championship”, will be seen as violating the rules.
But the FIA has now issued its response to concerns surrounding the amendment, with a spokesperson claiming the governing body is simply bringing itself in line with other athletic organizations such as the International Olympic Committee, and will “refrain from manifesting discrimination” against anyone.
A statement from an FIA spokesperson said: “The ISC has been updated in alignment with the political neutrality of sport as a universal fundamental ethical principle of the Olympic Movement, enshrined in the IOC Code of Ethics, together with the principle of the universality set out in Article 1.2.
“Additionally as stated in Article 1.2 of the FIA Statutes, the FIA shall promote the protection of human rights and human dignity, and refrain from manifesting discrimination on account of race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation or disability in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect, the FIA will focus on underrepresented groups in order to achieve a more balanced representation of gender and race and to create a more diverse and inclusive culture.”