Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2020

No driver will be criticised if they don’t take a knee – Ricciardo

2020 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

Some Formula 1 drivers may go further than others in their collective show of support for the anti-racism movement Black Lives Matter before the start of today’s race.

Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo said some may ‘take a knee’ – the gesture made famous by American football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 – prior to the start of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Drivers expressed their support for the anti-racism movement during Friday’s Grand Prix Drivers Association meeting. However some of them raised concerns over how the act of kneeling may be interpreted in their countries.

“I’ve certainly been supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Ricciardo. “I’ve read a lot and tried to learn more about it. It’s something which has certainly caught my interest and something I 100 percent want to support.

“The chat with the drivers was essentially this: All of us are 100 percent on board with supporting it and ending racism. None of us are ‘anti’ this. So we all support that.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
“Silence is really complicit” – Hamilton
“I think there was just a little bit of perhaps difficulty with some drivers and their nationality and what perhaps something like taking a knee would represent.

“Obviously the reasons why we will do is purely to support Black Lives Matter, it’s nothing political or anything else. But there is a little bit of a fine line, I think, with some drivers and their nationalities and how it’s perceived.

“But we heard all of them, we heard everyone’s opinion, and we’re not going to try to do anything against or put anyone in jeopardy. We’ve all understood that we’ll do what we feel comfortable with.

“No one’s going to be judged or criticised if they don’t stand there in a certain way or take a knee. But I think the intention is for us to support it and we’ll probably show that as a unit. And then if a few of us choose to do something extra, then that’ll be the case.”

Lewis Hamilton has repeatedly urged drivers and others within Formula 1 to draw attention to racism and promote diversity. Speaking in yesterday’s FIA press conference, he said those who do not condemn racism are complicit in tolerating it.

“In the meeting I acknowledged to a lot of the drivers that obviously there was an interpretation of a message that I posted asking for people to speak up and their silence, and just saying thank you for those who have said something on their social media platforms, because they’ve got a great voice, a great platform, and then encouraging the others that haven’t to say something.

“I just described the scenario that silence is really complicit. There still is some silence in some cases.

“But I think it’s also a part of a dialogue with people trying to understand because I think there are still people that don’t fully understand exactly what is happening and what are the reasons for these protests. So I continue to try and be that guy to try to influence as many people as I can with it.”

The FIA has declared its support for Formula 1’s ‘#WeRaceAsOne’ initiative to promote diversity in the sport, contributing €1 million (£900,000) from its Innovation Fund to the project.

“We must promote diversity in motor sport, and that is why we decided to give one million euros in contribution to the new dedicated Foundation created by Formula 1,” said FIA president Jean Todt. “That is a first step, and more will come.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

30 comments on “No driver will be criticised if they don’t take a knee – Ricciardo”

  1. Just know I know who you are and I see you. Silence is really complicit.

    Well, I still think that tax dodger is a criminal. Robbing a resources needed to give a change for the unfortunate. I will not be silence about this.

    1. Well here isn’t really the time or the place @ruliemaulana, but I see what you’re trying to do.

      As far as I’m aware, Hamilton’s tax avoidance is still not shown as illegal. Although there are some questions that would be with his lawyers and accountants. The system itself should be criticsed certainly.

      The other issue is that he may be taking tax money out of the UK treasury, but if he’s chucking a million into initiatives like this (and I’m sure countless others) I think we can say that he’s not entirely dishonourable with his cash.

      Anyway, this isn’t the place for this anyway. It’s a different conversation.

      1. @gongtong Not the place and time, what aout live tv is that the place and time, what about disparaging comments and calling other people racist without any merit. Calling out people for nothing as if he was more important than anyone else.

        1. @peartree yeah I think most people are in agreement that that’s a good time and place for high profile celebrities to point out issues in the world. In fact, I think those people who have such a position and don’t use it are a bigger problem.

          My comment about it not being the time or the place was simply because we’re having a conversation about racism right now. Not tax avoidance.

          We can all agree that we don’t like tax avoidance. Are we all in agreement that we don’t like racism?

      2. @gongtong Big Corporations making tons of money from sweatshop aboard was not illegal. McDonalds change it’s colour theme to black while denying minimum wage was not illegal. Even chokehold was not illegal.

        Where could I found the list of conversations deem honourable this moment of time in a place like this?

        1. Sorry @ruliemaulana I too have played my part in taking this off topic.

          Let’s get back to the issue. Racism. What should we be doing better to tackle it? You don’t like Lewis’ approach, so what should we do better?

          1. @gongtong Human is one race. Once you divide them into colour or ethnic you going to look them differently.

            The police brutality is not about black anyway since other cops that abetting the Flynn murder was white, black, yellow and brown.

            Corporations and celebrities doesn’t care about root cause. They just want to stay in the spotlight.

    2. And all those foreign billionaires who live in London for tax purposes should be sending their tax back to their own countries and not paying into the UK taxes?

    3. Did you speak up about Jenson Button, Coulthard and everyone else who have been long term Monaco residents during their driving careers?

      When Jenson and Coulthard were still racing no one cared about them being based in Monaco when it comes to British drivers, I have literally only ever seen people hound Hamilton about living outside of the UK.

      1. They’re tax dodger too. But at least Jenson and Coulthard didn’t talk about moral righteously.

    4. Whataboutism at it’s finest.

    5. That “tax dodger” is a 6 x F1 WDC. Let THAT sink in for a while. Ta ta

    6. Hamilton pays his taxes.

  2. Except by Lewis who has already called all his colleagues racists.
    And then one wonders why people are getting tired of a sanctimonious self-righteous hypocrite.

  3. Lewis is trying to bully people into showing solidarity with a movement dominated by odious communists who want to flip society on its head overnight.

    Many people feel that this would lead to an extreme amount of human misery and would rather not be associated with that movement. Why is an expression of anti racism not enough for him? Why does he insist on the knee?

    Furthermore if Lewis is going to take up with these communists then his taxes and his accumulated wealth are very much up for discussion because he ain’t keeping any of it in the new world order.

    1. Communists? hahah

      1. @socksolid yeah that was where I stopped reading.

        1. It’s on par with “left wing fascists”.

  4. Just want to see the F1 really, not interested in anything else. We didn’t even have a drivers’ ceremony before the start until a few years ago.

  5. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    5th July 2020, 12:47

    If you’re a guest in a country I find kneeling at their national anthem disrespectful. And if you don’t kneel the bullies will say you’re being disrespectful to the movement and then you’re the enemy. It’s a real hot potato.

    1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      5th July 2020, 13:55

      I take this back it was done very tastefully and respectfully.

  6. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    5th July 2020, 13:02

    What about protesters in Hong Kong wanting freedom, or Mexicans getting slaughtered everyday because of some of the political corruption. Oh yeah let’s go to Bahrain and say nothing about journalists getting thrown in jail or gays being persecuted in Russia. I haven’t seen F1 say anything about that stuff but since their star wants this or that everyone has to speak out…give me a break Lewis. I remember Lewis on Instagram last year telling Canadians to wake up because he saw a picture of an Eskimo way up in Northern Canada killing a seal to feed his village. This guy is the King of drama.

      1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        5th July 2020, 13:32

        Lol whatever man, people like you are the ones I would avoid anyways. Your likely the type of guy who has to lead the conversation and if someone else speaks out you pout and go to bed.

    1. Thanks for your text book example of “whataboutism”…

  7. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    5th July 2020, 13:32

    Are they not legit issues though?

  8. I have to say I have been impressed by Lewis and his language around this. As far as I know, he has not called his colleagues racist – I would like to see a quote if he has.
    He is certainly not the first person to highlight that silence on any abuse allows the abuser freedom to carry on. Saying that being silent on this topic is being complicit, is spot on.
    Regarding the other atrocities(as mentioned by Josh), they too are hugely important and deserve a platform, but Lewis has chosen this one, perhaps because he has lived experience of it. I dislike the arguement that you shouldn’t highlight one problem because then you are ignoring others.

    1. Thing is, when you say “I care about X” and someone replies with “Well what about Y?”, you should keep in mind that that person almost certainly never mentions Y in any other context. They don’t really care about Y. They just want to stop you from speaking about X.

  9. At the Tumblr F1 fandom, they spread the hate on drivers for not kneeling…
    psst…just tell them at Tumblr that all the drivers who didn’t kneel have their lives in danger, when they aren’t in real life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.