Domenicali to remind drivers of “big responsibility” to act as role models

2021 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by and

New Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali will urge drivers to make the most of their opportunity to promote the sport in a positive light.

Domenicali, who took over in charge of F1 last month, has already written to the Grand Prix Drivers Association and plans to meet with them at the first race of the season to discuss how their conduct reflects on the sport and how they can draw attention to the positive changes it is making.

Formula 1 introduced its ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative last year to pay tribute to those fighting Covid-19 and to show the sport’s support for diversity and commitment to tackling racism. All drivers participated in a new pre-race ‘end racism’ observance during 2020. Domenicali also expects drivers to promote the sport’s other priorities, such as improving its sustainability.

“I sent the letter to all the drivers personally, also to the president of their association, Alex Wurz, because I want to share with them how important it is that they understand that their value in being positive ambassadors of Formula 1,” said Domenicali. “Not only talking about the sport itself, but also on the points on the values on which Formula 1 is really focussed, like the ‘WeRaceAsOne’ project and the diversity and sustainability project that we want to share together.

“I invited them for a meeting that we need to have as soon as possible, physically, and the target will be to have it in Bahrain if it’s possible, to really discuss and share this opportunity.”

Formula 1 “cannot lose the opportunity of making sure they understand they are more than drivers and they have a big responsibility because they are the face of our sport,” Domenicali stressed.

“They have to understand also that their behaviour, their words or and [a] ‘lead by example’ approach is what I’m expecting to share with them.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“There is for sure a relationship with the team and driver. But they need to realise that the relation between the team, drivers and Formula 1 world is essential because we have a huge potential to reach also new fans, new people that they will engage with their faces, with their behaviour, with the way that they really act as a man.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas, 2020
Mazepin’s behaviour came under criticism last year
“That’s an area where I would like to invest a lot of time also on my side to keep discussing not only on the sporting side with them, because we have a special governance [for] that, we have dedicated to discuss about it. But I want to really share how I believe we should really work together also in using our platform and their role model to push for points that are important for our society.”

New Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin faced condemnation last year after a video of him groping a woman in a car appeared on one of his social media accounts. Mazepin apologised for the video.

“It was pretty clear what he did, it was not acceptable,” said Domenicali. “Very straightforward.

“But I think that he was apologetic as a reaction to what he did. And we need to make sure that in the discussion we’re going to have, that they understand that we cannot joke on certain things. That is not possible.

“They are too important not to understand that they’re role models, that they have to embrace [it]. And that’s something that we’re going to discuss together, not only with him. At the appropriate time, as I said, I want to have a meeting with them to realise how important all of them are for our sport.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 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.

29 comments on “Domenicali to remind drivers of “big responsibility” to act as role models”

  1. Bit abt. Mazepin, apologetic, well depends on what you think the worst thing he did was.

    But, that’s an incident. If FOM/FIA are serious about this, the letter, and talk, needs to be a precursor that could end with ‘bringing sport into disrepute’ punishments for very bad behaviour. However, I do wonder what then, wouldn’t that only be with the effect that their employer (hi HAAS?) can fire them w/o financial penalty? Because what else would it mean; two race ban while they serve community appropriate service? Not sure. Problematic that F1/FOM/FIA get into this? Well a FIA sanction would be appealable unlike public opinion, providing some measure of recourse.

    1. If FOM/FIA revoke his superlicence then HAAS could fire him without any problem as he can’t drive anymore.

    2. I like that you think it’s Haas paying him for that drive.

      1. It would rather about not having to pay an enormous amount for breach of contract that Haas would have to pay @aiii

  2. Mazepin is still just over 20 years old. He is still a kid. He has made some stupid mistakes. F1 is in a whole another level what comes to followers and media attention. If he will do something what Seb did in Baku a couple years ago he and many others will remember it.

    He has a lot of eyes following him. More than most rookies. 1 season can go faster than he thinks and he needs to avoid some stupid mistakes in this season. But when this season ends he still will be 22 yo. He has a chance to change his attidute but if he cannot do that I think someone will do that for him.

    1. @qeki Or does what he tended to do in F2, i.e., force rivals off track or very close to it while they’re overtaking him. If he keeps on going overboard with his defending regularly, beyond the grey area of rules, he’s going to get 12 penalty points quite quickly.

      1. @jerejj That’s the thing I’m afraid of. Haas needs that 3rd driver just for Mazepin.

      2. His minimum target for this year should be to do that less often than Grosjean did last year but hopefully the bar is higher than that.

    2. No no, 20 years old is notstill a kid. You’re well past old enough to know right from wrong and how to make good judgement calls at that age. Don’t excuse foolish behavior, hold people accountable.

      1. Mazepin seems to be learning much more slowly than other drivers at his age.

  3. More politically correctness “BeeS” coming to F1. OK.

    1. The world has moved on from the 1950’s – move with it


  4. F1 lets Saudi-Arabia and Bahrain promote themselves through the sport, and now it’s the drivers that have to be ambassadors for F1’s ‘values’ like good little lads? The hypocrisy and sheer idiocy of it all is worrisome.

    Driver’s are sportsmen, not ‘role models’. End of.

  5. “Don’t ruin our investment portfolio and cost us money” F1 CEO tells drivers…

    1. Isn’t that what we all sign up to when someone employs us?

      1. F1 doesn’t ’employ’ teams or drivers

  6. Stupid idea

    Formula One needs as many villains as good guys if it’s hook is to stay in the masses.

    This idea of goody two shoes drivers is outdated and although I happen to admire the good guy in the crowd I do admit enjoying bad guys and seeing how effective their acting skills are. Usually that bad dude brings a whole lot of interest in “whatever” because we like our good guys but love our villains.

    1. Formula One needs as many villains as good guys if it’s hook is to stay in the masses.

      Man… F1 is a sport, not a bad Netflix show. F1 doesn’t need any villains nonsense. It needs responsible sportsmen.

      1. F1 will always have villains from on-track activity. Why ask for us to pardon morally reprehensible drivers for the sake of off-track drama and gossip?

  7. Why are YOU afraid to say there are two sides to every tale.

  8. How come??????

  9. I love the idea of teaching our drivers how to act like gentlemen both inside and outside of the car. It’s so important to be nice to all people all the time. As a worldwide sport FormulaOne has an image to protect. So why is the kid at Haas still allowed in Formula One? Money has to be part of it or he’d be old news.
    Kind of playing both sides don’t you think Keith

  10. How long would James Hunt last today?

    1. @lancer033, I thought James was the perfect role model (cigarettes excepted).

    2. James Hunt was a stand-up dude if you’re going to talk trash use specifics.

      1. Don’t get me wrong, I love the guy, he has all the vices i admire and none of the virtues i hate. Just saying that doing lines of coke off the woman you just nailed in the garage before a race, or having 2 stewardesses a day delivered to your hotel room while the 2 from the day before are escorted out for a week to get ready for a championship winning race probably wouldn’t go over to well in today’s culture.

        1. @lancer033 Lol 😄

          This is just so much better than the neutered woke PC role model crowd of today. It doesn’t even matter if you agree with the attitude or lifestyle choice (I don’t), but people’s freedom should come first. It’s really a matter of principle. This ‘forcing to a mold’ I find extremely rude, and also detrimental to society.

    3. … and what would be the reaction from hardcases like Alan Jones, Clay Reggazoni or Jack Brabham?

  11. Wow this was clearly directed at Schumacher’s team mate. I doubt he will get the axe next time he slips up though… Haas needs daddy’s roubles.

Comments are closed.