Formula 1 drivers and other participants in International Automobile Federation (FIA) events are banned from making any political statement without getting permission from the governing body, according to the 2023 version of the International Sporting Code.
In the updated International Sporting Code published on the governing body’s website, the FIA bans “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.”
The new rules also state anyone wanting to make statements, in addition, to having advertisements on their Formula One car, will need to be “previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction.”
Additionally, the competitors are advised 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 an FIA Championship” would be a breach of the regulations.
The decision from the FIA to implement these rules more than likely comes after the sport has seen a rise in activism in recent years, with Black Lives Matter activist and Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and now-retired four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. The Guardian explained:
Hamilton, who has been an outspoken campaigner for human rights and diversity, wore a black T-shirt at the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix with the words ‘Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’ on the front. The shirt also had a photograph of the Black medical worker, who was shot dead in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment by police officers, with ‘Say her name.’
Hamilton has also called for more change in Saudi Arabia, saying this year that he was shocked to hear of mass executions, and has raced in the Middle East with a rainbow helmet in support of LGBTQ+ rights.
Vettel used his platform to highlight issues from LGBTQ +rights to climate change. This year he wore a shirt proclaiming ‘Stop Mining Tar Sands’ and ‘Canada’s Climate Crime’ at the Canadian Grand Prix. In 2021 he wore a rainbow-coloured T-shirt in Hungary with the message ‘same love’ to protest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Breitbart News recently reported that Formula 1 also canceled the 2023 Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for mid-April next year “due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the COVID-19 situation.”
The cancellation comes as China continues to enforce a zero-Covid policy, ultimately leading to heavy restrictions and continued lockdowns. The zero-Covid policy would ultimately cause unnecessary havoc, forcing the sport to concede it would not be feasible to hold a race that usually attracts large crowds with many employees from each team having to travel through the county.
The organizing body said it would be “assessing alternative options to replace the slot on the 2023 calendar and will provide an update on this in due course,” but one has not been made at this time.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.