Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Mugello, 2020

F1 drivers banned from wearing T-shirts on podium after Hamilton’s Breonna Taylor protest

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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The FIA has announced changed to its post-race procedure after Lewis Hamilton wore a T-shirt drawing attention to the Breonna Taylor case at the last race.

Revised guidance issued to drivers by the sport’s governing body states the top three finishers in the race “must remain attired only in their driving suits, ‘done up’ to the neck, not opened to the waist” throughout the podium ceremony and post-race interview procedure.

At the previous round in Mugello, Hamilton wore a T-shirt bearing the message “Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor” while he was interviewed after the race and during his appearance on the podium.

Taylor was shot multiple times and killed by police officers who entered her home in Kentucky in March. The case has been highlighted by worldwide anti-racism protests and the Black Lives Matter movement, which Hamilton is a vocal supporter of.

Hamilton said on Thursday he was expecting “a new ruling of some sort saying what we can and cannot do” in response to his actions in Mugello.

“Lots of rules have been written for me over the years, that hasn’t stopped me. What I will do is just continue to try to work with Formula 1 and with the FIA to make sure the messaging is right.”

The pre-race end racism observance will continue at this weekend’s race. The procedure is the same as at previous rounds, and continues to include references to drivers “wearing their black coloured ‘end racism’ T-shirts”, which at Mugello Hamilton replaced with his Breonna Taylor shirt.

The guidance given to drivers concerning the observance has changed ahead of today’s Russian Grand Prix. Previously drivers were given a list of suggested gestures of support, including taking a knee, standing on the carpet and making a variety of gestures, or “anything else a driver may feel comfortable to do”. The latter has been removed in the guidance for today’s Russian Grand Prix.

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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...

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37 comments on “F1 drivers banned from wearing T-shirts on podium after Hamilton’s Breonna Taylor protest”

  1. Taylor was shot multiple times and killed by police officers who entered her home in Kentucky in March.

    After her boyfriend shot and injured the police, while they knocked to serve a warant.

    Important to explain full story here.

    1. Except that’s not actually true.

    2. Wasn’t part of the point that it was a no-knock warrant? So no, they didn’t knock. They burst into someone’s home unannounced in the middle of the night.

      As you say it’s important to explain the full story.

      1. I suggest you actually read more about this than just a T Shirt. There’s plenty of information about what actually went on and the circumstances behind them.

      2. The 3 police officers had a no-knock warrant, but did not use the no-knock aspect. They were knocking and announcing themselves as witnessed by neighbours and detailed in the district attorney’s decision.
        Not that it should matter: the district attorney is a young black man, the first in Kentucky history.

      3. From what I understand they had a no knock warrant but still knocked

      4. Yes the police did knock and announced themselves and the boyfriend shot first… This has been verified by the boyfriend and by neighbors… Get your facts straight!

    3. Not all that important @jureo, because apart from it being irrelevant to this story, the important bit for BLM was that she was a (yet again black) woman in her home, asleep, being shot by police who initially weren’t doing much to investigate what went wrong there, ie. there was no noticeable effort look at the facts before.

      And about the full story, now it was finally looked at, one officer is further being investigated for not following procedure and endangering a neighbor when shooting, so not just investigating straight away clearly was a flaw, even if none of them being indicted for the shooting of Taylor.

      1. It was dark, the police didn’t even know the gender of the 2 people in the dark hallway, let alone that they were black. They weren’t asleep, they’d been woken by the knocking as stated by Breonna’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker.
        Walker shot first and the police defended themselves by returning fire. Walker acted in self defence because he thought it was a criminal breaking in; that’s why the charges against him were dropped. In the confusion of the moment, he knew there was knocking at the door but didn’t realise it was police.
        On the investigation side; police did an internal investigation and gave the findings to the Kentucky Attorney General on May 20 (9 weeks after Breonna’s death). The AG and the Mayor then also asked the FBI and the US Attorney’s office to conduct separate investigations. On June 23 officer Hankison was fired because he shot recklessly and he will face trial for reckless endangerment.
        They were investigating immediately – they just weren’t saying much about it, which was poor communication and very poor understanding of the tension of our times.

    4. @jureo there have been a lot of questions over whether the police really did knock – the police claimed in their testimony that they knocked, but that has been contradicted by testimony from neighbours which indicated no attempt was made to knock on the door first.

      Furthermore, the validity of the testimony from the police officers has also come under question given that the form they submitted with their version of events had some rather noticeable errors – for example, those same police officers initially claimed in their written records that they hadn’t broken the door down, when in fact they did, and also claimed that Breonna Taylor had not been injured at all, when she quite clearly had been.

      @bosyber in some ways, it is worse than that – it seems that the police did in fact speak to the local postmaster about deliveries which she had been receiving in an effort to find out if her ex-partner was having suspect packages delivered there.

      However, the evidence the local postmaster gave was that he had seen no evidence of the sort of packages the police were looking for – so, even before they raided the property, they were receiving evidence which was weakening their case and the need to enter the property in the first place.

    5. Maybe also explain that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, two of the three officers who fired their weapons the night Taylor was killed, were justified in their actions, which prevents prosecutors from pursuing criminal charges.

  2. Yup, that’s why grand jury (which is made out of ordinary citizens) didnt indight them. There was no such issues with George Floyd which was a more open shut clear cut case.

    1. What is unclear in Breonna case? She didn’t commit any crimes and police put 5 bullets in her. They did this either on purpose and should be charged with murder or they shoot her by accident and should be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Either way they should be held responsible for what happened.

    2. Not so open and shut. Just watch that space.

  3. Good move. A usual knee jerk reaction because they rarely think it through, but still a good step.

  4. Thank you FIA.

    I was thoroughly disgusted about the podium shirt display at the Tuscany Grand Prix. I also feel that a winning British driver on the podium should stand to attention and stand still, while the British National Anthem is being played. How about some respect LH?

  5. As usual with things like this, it is always odd to see the FIA be so reactive, and looking just a tad silly. I feel like we had something like this already before with drivers being told to wear just the overalls (or was that about those McLaren over-jackets that looked like the overalls, but neater?)

    Apart from that, always quite revealing what events/lack of protocol some people are taken aback by, feeling it disrespectful, and what they are sort of things they are completely fine with.

    1. Yes, mostly about power and status really. A governing body wants to be in control of course, that’s always a good feeling, and then some citizens prefer to see categories of people as having less status than their own, if possible.

  6. Hamilton does his best to politicize F1, thats a huge mistake and the governing body knows it. Hamilton should be penalized with points reduction.

    This is F1 and not a politcal arena, everybody should respect that.

  7. Everything is a warzone.

  8. Leave the politics off the track.

    1. To be fair, he wasn’t on the track. He was on the podium.

      1. He’s got his social media accounts if he wants to protest his causes.

  9. We do not know the whole story because non of us were there. Not even LH. But ofcourse he has a right to his opinion as any of us have. So why does he has to draw the attention to that during F1? ok lots of people are watching ofcourse. But he can do lots of other things in his time outside F1, he will always get lots of attention. So let sports be about sports.

  10. Good move by the FIA and makes sense.

    Happy for all the anti-racism messages to be said BEFORE the start, when all the drivers are together in one together.

    Happy for the drivers to have thier freedom to air thier views away from the track.

    But keep the podium purely for a celebration of sporting achievement.

    1. Exactly.

  11. Sounds like a very narrow ban … Sweat tops next … LOL

  12. It was a “no knock” warrant carried out by plain clothes officers who may or may not have announced themselves as police officers ( this fact is disputed) … in a country where everyone seems entitled to have a gun ……… apparently the man of the house opened fire at these “intruders” which seems normal/reasonable in the US …… a gun battle ensued and an unarmed COMPLETELY innocent woman was shot several times and killed. The only officer being charged is the one who missed with all his shots, pretty much BECAUSE he missed with all his shots …. you simply couldnt make it up.
    So Lewis’ t-shirt protest last week was very timely and although there is probably something nice and corporate about keeping the podium ceremony free from politics, ( and i think this is probably a good idea) it is often laden with despots or their representatives giving out prizes AND the most likely part of a GP to be carried by news organisations.

  13. Allowing the politicisation of F1 has always been recognised as a high risk. Who will it offend with clout in which country? What will their response be? What will the local petty authoritarian bureaucrat be allowed to get away with? Importing kit, brining in people, legality of the track, safety of the spectators… the opportunity for creating chaos and cost is almost endless if the malignant power so wishes.

    Bernie made the mistake of giving in to Putin and allowing the anthem at the start of a race and that had to be made standard at other races.

    Tit-for-tat is common in international relations. Local politicians can also get in the act sometimes to ‘make an example’. Senna’s death allowed the Italian authorities free play to harass Williams (who just happened also to be the challengers to Ferrari) for years. A coincidence of course.

    So keeping well clear of all politics is a very good idea. Team members can do their own thing in their own time but doing it on the grid or garage or podium makes it an F1 responsibility and F1 should not allow such potential threats to its operations.

    I would go further and drop the national anthems on the podium too. These teams, for the most part at least, are not really representatives of one nation and in the spirit of the age we should recognise they are all multinational enterprises in staffing and equipment. If an individual wants to fly his own country’s flag that is fine but why not make F1 about the teams not the countries.

    1. Got to agree with the national anthems. They are not there representing their country in the way a national football team or Olympic team does.

    2. National anthems at the start to begin with the Russian GP.

  14. If I’m your sponsor you’ll damn well wear my logo on the podium. No mixed messaging.

  15. This also rules out anyone wearing happy cowboy t-shirts, or “Is Love a Crimea”? type slogans. And Dan Ric can’t show off his brightly painted helmet. Probably.

  16. I worked with an athletics governing body. Their procedures for podiums:

    ‘Award ceremonies at championships and other major athletic events are extremely important for the athletes, their federations, the spectators and the television audience. They bring elements of occasion and national pride that are often missing in other events. They must, therefore, be carefully planned and conducted in a dignified manner. At the same time, they must not be allowed to disturb… the television transmission.’

    ‘…the athletes are correctly dressed (approved team uniforms), that the award ceremony bibs are properly affixed and that no items are carried on to the field’

    At the Olympics:

    Where are protests and demonstrations not permitted during the Olympic Games?
    At all Olympic venues, including: on the field of play, during Olympic medal ceremonies…

    Here are some examples of what would constitute a protest, as opposed to expressing views (non-exhaustive list):
    Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands
    Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling
    Refusal to follow the Ceremonies protocol

    What happens if an athlete or participant fails to respect these policies?
    If an athlete or participant is in breach of Rule 50 and the Olympic Charter, each incident will be evaluated by their respective National Olympic Committee, International Federation and the IOC, and disciplinary action will be taken on a case-by-case basis as necessary. In conclusion, these guidelines have been developed with the aim that each and every one of you can enjoy the experience of the Olympic Games without any divisive disruption.

    Surprised it’s taken this long (and this incident) for podium protocol in F1 to be clarified.

  17. Roberto Giacometti
    27th September 2020, 11:19

    Good – suspension for 12 months is appropriate too !

  18. Funny that there’s clarification about Human Rights protests as F1 is just about to visit Bahrain (twice) & announce a race in Saudi, home of F1’s newest, huge sponsor (Saudi) Aramco. Don’t want to embarrass the paymasters do we?

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