F1 drivers take a knee, Red Bull Ring, 2020

F1 to review pre-race anti-racism ceremony with drivers before season starts

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In the round-up: Changes will be made to Formula 1’s ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative and the series will review the pre-race anti-racism ceremony which was introduced last year with drivers before the new season begins.

Changes to ‘WeRaceAsOne’

Formula 1 confirmed yesterday its ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative will continue in 2021 with some changes, the most obvious of which being the rainbow logo will be dropped.

The initiative was announced last year to pay tribute to those fighting Covid-19 and demonstrate the sport’s commitment to increasing diversity and tackling racism. In 2021 ‘WeRaceAsOne’ will be designated F1’s official Environment, Social and Corporate Governance platform addressing three areas including sustainability and community.

The third will be diversity and inclusivity, which was symbolised last year through the pre-race anti-racism observance which all drivers participated in.

“We used our restart to show that we as a sporting community stand united against racism and are doing more to address inequality and diversity in Formula 1,” said the series in a statement. “This was highlighted at every race with the 20 drivers uniting in their support of ending racism before the start of the race.

“We plan to include a moment before the start of each race this season to show our united support for important issues and will be discussing this with the drivers and the teams ahead of the start of the season.”

Drivers were allowed to signal their support for the in various ways including taking the knee. No decision has been taken yet on whether the practice will continue in 2021.

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Comment of the day

The return of Autodromo do Algarve was welcomed by many readers yesterday:

Brilliant decision by Formula 1. This was the best of the ‘new’ tracks visited in 2020 by far. If they can reduce the length of the DRS zone on the main straight slightly it will be even better.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Willis, Tom.Y, David Benford, Markie and Pete!

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Keith Collantine
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  • 58 comments on “F1 to review pre-race anti-racism ceremony with drivers before season starts”

    1. In 2021 ‘WeRaceAsOne’ will be designated F1’s official Environment, Social and Corporate Governance platform addressing three areas including sustainability and community.
      The third will be diversity and inclusivity…

      How many buzz words can be put into one statement, environment, sustainability, diversity… Typical corporate speak really, make everything sound as good as possible while at the end of the day not doing all that much in the day-to-day. I wonder how many meetings will be held for discussing this platform/initiative and what measurable outcomes will actually be achieved.

      1. “I wonder how many meetings will be held for discussing this platform/initiative and what measurable outcomes will actually be achieved”

        Good god man! trying get some measurable outcomes?! That would mean actually doing something! Have you lost your mind?! haha

        Jokes aside, I would really like to see what this Diversity and Inclusivity policy looks like.

        1. It almost seems old-fashioned, but I’d really like to see some F1 races again.

      2. Yeah all that and F1 continues to hold races in countries that persecute their own citizens for their ethnicities, sex, or sexual orientations. Now with Saudi Arabia we have F1 races in countries that sponsor violent terrorist attacks against western countries.

        More like “we race as unprincipled corporatists with no interest in human well being.”

    2. We plan to include a moment before the start of each race this season to show our united support for important issues

      In my opinion wealth inequality is the most pressing problem, because most other issues like famine or racism stem from financial struggles. I’d welcome FOM, F1 teams and drivers highlighting that wealth distribution has to be changed and it’s simply unacceptable in 2021 there are individuals who earn millions per year, while 1 billion people have to live with less than 1 dollar a day.

      1. Well, you hit the nail on the head. All these people fighting effects while they should be looking at cause indeed. They still dont live up to what they preach themselves, which I find both humorous and disturbing. Similar to all of a sudden responding to a pandemic while ignoring the dead toll of starving people from hunger that is going on for years. But hey now it involves us reach people… so now we act and point fingers at others…Why would anyone die of hunger in 2021? There is plenty of money to go around for all. The real pandemic are the billionaires

        1. ‘Billionaire’ isn’t contagious, though – and that’s the way they want to keep it.

        2. The cause of racism is poverty? The reason people are racist against black people is because black people are poor? Or you’re saying poor people don’t like black people? I don’t understand.

          The main source of racism is cultures that reinforce negative stereotypes.

      2. Jose Lopes da Silva
        11th February 2021, 10:28

        @aapje here’s someone who also refuses identity politics.

      3. By that logic, all the cars should be the same, and everyone should be P1. Maybe Mercedes should also share some of its secrets? Like it or not, core of F1 is capitalism. Cutthroat competition, rich folks investing, rich sons driving, Monaco, yachts, elites. All this diversity and eco stuff is just what everybody says. Just cheap PR so the twitter mob wouldn’t crucify you.

      4. @armchairexpert

        It is really discouraging to me that race is so easily used to divide us. How are we going to fix our economies or fight climate change if we can’t even agree that people should be treated fairly no matter what they look like?

        1. @slotopen

          Yeah, the historic precedent of blaming certain races of oppressing others, because those races are more successful, is really bad.

      5. 100% true. Sharing wealth for those making countless millions would be much more effective against inequality, but knelling is so much cheaper…

    3. Wonder if the “neutral athlete from Russia” will take a knee.

      1. Does it matter? Does he matter?
        Slightly out of context, you could not script these names any worse name or better, depending whether you enjoy dark humour or not, the irony in #metoo and what made taking a knee turn global.

      2. Kvyat didn’t, no. And he said why. Move along.

      3. Jose Lopes da Silva
        11th February 2021, 10:29

        NAFR is a good acronym and name for Schumacher’s team mate.

        1. Felipe Nasr will not like if people pursue that.

      4. A lot of drivers didn’t.

    4. “…but it does grate on us old-schoolers because nobody ever took that stance in the ’50s, ’60s or ’70s…”

      Yeh and people died rather regularly… the time when it was acceptable for people to just die racing passed a very long time ago.

      1. yes but it is not just that, it is the commitment and also that most old school drivers had to work for a seat.

        1. I don’t know much about Grosjean’s history prior to F1 but I doubt he didn’t put enough work in to get where he’s at. Not sure if less than any old-school driver

        2. Coming back to that original article on a somewhat unrelated note.. The question asked ends on this phrase. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but without the risk and larger-than-life personalities, what have we really got?”

          To me, we still got racing. And if I give it some thought – lack of life-threatening danger to the drivers doesn’t make it any less exciting for me, to be honest. Kinda the opposite, if anything.
          Sorry to make guesses, but to me the tone of the question that person’s asking suggests that he really doesn’t mind people getting hurt, and I kinda do. Knowing that the ovals are more dangerous and people could get hurt does nothing for my excitement levels for them (close to zero).
          And even when I watch the old F1, if I pause to think about it – it’s not the danger that I like. You know that feeling when you see a crash and you just freeze waiting to see if the driver is okay because there are chances? Does nothing good for me. Don’t miss it.

        3. Jose Lopes da Silva
          11th February 2021, 10:30

          Guys like Prince Bira and Alfonso de Portago?

    5. I thought Gasly had returned to Europe around when the positive test case became public. Given that pre-season testing begins in about a month, maybe he intends to stay in the Gulf region and not return to Europe until after the Bahrain GP weekend, which wouldn’t be a bad plan.
      Yesterday, what I found interesting was that Aston Martin blurred out more or less everything around the cockpit, something that Red Bull didn’t do for Perez’s equivalent seat fitting. Ricciardo’s case is different as his seat fitting footage was more closed-up than the other two.

      1. Because the RB used a fit chassis who they always use each year there is nothing then the nessary thing headprotection and halo. The chassis would is going to be used you also saw but was covered when he was walking through the departments.

    6. It is good to have algarve back but after this year I am worried about suzuka. Honda is withdrawing after this season is Suzuka going to continue on the calendar. I’m not sure what kind of a deal they have with FIA but covid situation isn’t helping it. Of course if Red Bull can continue using them as a let’s say under the mugen name it could affect the deal or not.

      I just hope it will stay on the calendar but anything can happen. In the end it has been on the calendar since 1987 and only two times in 2007 and 2008 it was absent.

      1. @qeki Suzuka is easily the best circuit on the calendar (only Spa is close). I love it, even though it’s completely the wrong time of day (night) for me to watch,

    7. So does that mean that..

    8. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      11th February 2021, 9:42

      So how long do sportsman have to spend on their knees before the trend passes? Also how can Mercedes ever go back to silver now because of the potential outrage over ‘not caring anymore.’

      1. Stephen Higgins
        11th February 2021, 9:53

        I thought maybe they’d have tweaked the livery by perhaps having a silver fade around the front nose tip, or having silver underneath the swoopy blue Petronas lines.

      2. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        11th February 2021, 10:29

        That’s the big question that I had from the start. Before the season started, there was that whole thing about ‘blackout tuesday’ (or thursday) where drivers were ‘asked’ to post a mere black image on their social media. To show their support for what was going on in the States. Drivers that didn’t (that were on social media at least, I can get more and more behind Sebs absence from it) were instantly branded as bad.

        Fast-forward a bit and the whole ‘take a stand before every race’ happened. Some drivers that did post a black picture before but now didn’t take a knee, were branded as bad instantly. Fast-forward another race and drivers that did take a knee the first time but not the second time, were once again branded as bad.

        That to me really showed that you can never do it right according to some people. It’s never enough and someone will always come up with a new ‘small guesture that is easy to do’ and failing to do it makes you the most horrible person on earth. Terms being used to describe these ‘horrible persons’ used to mean something, now they’re just buzzwords that get thrown around for the tiniest of things.

        At the end of the day I rather see drivers do something they actually care for and mean, rather than being forced to do something. IF that means not taking a knee but merely standign there, all fine by me. It’s the thought and the actual realization in someones mind that counts, not the show/gesture around it.

        1. I haven’t noted anything resembling the vilification of the upstanding that you’re alluding to (although I’m sure fine people on both sides would have chimed in on social media).
          From my point of view if at least some people reflect on some appropriate issue each time the video plays that’s OK by me. If it makes others uncomfortable – so it goes.

        2. @barryfromdownunder

          People with a authoritarian mindset get off on making others do what they demand. That’s why nothing is ever enough. The proclaimed goal is not actually the point, even though these people deceive themselves into thinking it is.

      3. From what I remember Hamilton said the shelf life for gestures should be one season only. Then you need to get down to action which would be long term and not the stuff of headlines. Although it should be noted that the pre-race ceremony was a joint GPDA F1 commitment, so that was just Hamilton’s personal view.
        The guy who impressed last year me with his passion and grasp of the subject was Seb. Does anyone know if he is stepping up to Grosjeans position in the GPDA? If he is I’m confident it will be handled correctly.

        1. +1 Vettel impressed me too. Hamilton has already used last year as a springboard for a series of practical initiatives, some alongside or even launched by Mercedes. It depends what the drivers think and want as a collective. The only stipulation for me is that FIA and F1 support whatever they decide. Domenicali seems to be moving in a good direction all round, so I’m confident.
          If F1 wanted to tackle this in another way, they could be emphasizing the need for a global solution to Covid-19 vaccination, which indirectly touches on various forms of discrimination.

      4. @rdotquestionmark The kneeling was also ridiculous when the theme is ‘as one’, when it’s in deference to one group of people and not all drivers do it. It sends almost the opposite message.

        1. @balue The attitude underlying BLM isn’t ‘deference’ to one group of people, it’s the desire to see the inclusion of discriminated groups of people and an end to racist prejudice.

          1. @david-br No, BLM means black lives matter. It specifies black lives. That’s what it’s about. Not colored, asian or whatever. It follows protests in USA where black people were unfairly treated. I thought you knew this. Even your man Hamilton proved that’s what it meant with the black power salute.

            BLM then became a political movement with violent protests and ‘taking the knee’ one of their symbols. In reality the gesture became kneeling for blacks and showing support for the BLM movement. I’m surprised not more drivers boycotted it.

            1. So you would be more comfortable if the US went back to the inclusive term ‘colored’?
              FIA didn’t ask their drivers to do anything more than collaborate in ‘we race as one’.

        2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          11th February 2021, 14:31

          It just feels like the whole thing is tying everyone up in knots @balue

        3. @balue

          The entire ‘as one’ theme conflicts with ‘diversity’ (or freedom) anyway.

          Places where everyone (seems to) act ‘as one’ are invariably extremely authoritarian, where people are not allowed to act differently.

    9. They should put out a lengthy report about the existing racism within Formula 1 and the teams. They should be specific and cite examples and the plans to address their own racism. The second part of the report is a country-by-country detail of governmental racist policies, and go down the list, Australia, China, France, UK, USA. But somehow I think it’s easier if they virtue signal and call everyone else racists but themselves. They look awfully noble in those track photos taking a knee, aren’t they great people. Better than all you racists.

      1. @warren2185

        They should put out a lengthy report about the existing racism within Formula 1 and the teams.

        The problem is that such a report is either going to extremely thin, or it is going to be full of subjective, unproven or false claims.

        The second part of the report is a country-by-country detail of governmental racist policies, and go down the list, Australia, China, France, UK, USA.

        And then? Are you aware that FIA can’t actually change the laws in those countries?

        Also, there are actually very few racist laws and those that exist tend be racist against groups that people like you tend to be racist against.

        Better than all you racists.

        So predictable.

        It takes one, to falsely accuse others, I guess.

        1. It takes one, to falsely accuse others, I guess.

          Accusing “others” of racism is exactly what the drivers are doing with the pre-race photo ceremonies. I’m saying they should have the guts to point out specifics, and maybe they would actually find the evidence is “pretty thin”, as you say. And they’d find out there aren’t racist laws anywhere in the US, or EU, or much of the world. But those pre-race photo-ops sure do point the finger of racism at other people, and I’m sick of it.

          1. They are taking a symbolic stand against racism. They are not accusing any individuals of racist activity. They are it implying that drivers that do not take part are racist.

            In the US we have many racist laws or racist applications of policy. Also our media has portrayed black people as villains longer than the mediums in use today have existed. Many people are scared of black people because they have been told over and over again that black people are dangerous and predators. People largely believe the circumstances they are in are their own fault despite hundreds of years of slavery followed by another 150 years of systemic racism. If you have lived in the US and have not seen this you are not paying attention or are intentionally deceiving yourself.

            1. @ryanoceros666

              “Many racist laws” and yet you don’t even name one.

              And it’s actually a fact that black Americans are much more likely to commit crimes, as the official crime statistics show. They are over 7 times as likely to murder someone, for example.

              Leftists tend to be completely supportive of portraying men as being dangerous to women and for women to discriminate against men on that basis, yet do not support it when racial groups that are less prone to crime get upset at and discriminate against those that are more prone to crime. It’s hypocritical.

    10. Taking the knee is a protest sign against racist policemen in the USA killing colored people.
      Taking the knee as a sign that one is still against racism is strange.
      Once against racism always against racism.
      If one repeats this move unendingly it loses meaning and then taking THE KNEE becomes a GRATUIT action.
      If the F1 drivers really want to protest against racists they should create a fund to finance lawsuits against racists,…. deposit lets say $ 100.000.- per driver and $ 1.000.000.- per rich driver (Hamilton?)
      Only then you are talking.

      1. Taking the knee is a protest sign against racist policemen in the USA killing colored people.

        Except this is something you are completely making up. There is zero evidence that police kill people because of their skin color, yet you claim this like a fact. If you can cite evidence that skin color was a reason for a single police killing that was unjust, please present it, the jury would love to know.

    11. With all the unfair flak he’s getting I find myself rooting for Stroll. His stats are more than Ok and there’s progression as well.

    12. I just get the impression the overtness of the pre-race BLM protest didn’t sit well with the conservative FIA. It made too much noise for their liking (which was kind of its whole point). So I see this as their attempt at quietening it and making it more sanitised under the guise of making the whole thing more encompassing and more inclusive. I bet we see a lot less of it this season and that’s just how the FIA prefer a social message to be. Quiet and out of the way. A token gesture.

    13. Time to ditch gestures orchestrated for the cameras and ‘woke’ stuff.
      Time to go back to the wonderful old days when nothing was orchestrated on the grid before races, not even for lousy national anthems. They were played, but no demands were made of anyone to line up anywhere.
      Drivers need to focus pre-race, and viewers don’t give a monkey’s about gestures and flags and brass bands, etc.

      1. Indeed. To see superstars following the obligatory program the headmaster ordered is not very F1 and practically humiliating. Attention here, salute there. They should be seen doing their own thing before races, that’s what everyone wants.

      2. I agree. Get rid of it because there ain’t time for that. Nothing to do with its meaning or effectiveness. If we go on this way there won’t be time for racing because the drivers will be bowing to symbolize violence against non heterosexuals and holding die-ins to protest Saudi Arabia’s war with Yemen.

        F1 and FIA should just clean up their own act and be done with it.

    14. Why not just stick to racing. If certain driver’s want to constantly protest & send a message, they can do that on social media. The whole stance & ceremony was perfectly fine… for a couple of races, before it grew & became something ridiculous at every race. Formula 1, motorsport & sport in general are some of, if not the biggest multicultural & multinational businesses on the planet.

      Hamilton feels like he has to make a song & dance to make a difference but i can honestly say he inspired me most & had my support from before he reached F1 & up until he became a walking, talking political machine. I looked up to him, as I’m sure every culture did. Now i have friends of many races that find him irritating & to be a hypocrite.

      People don’t watch Formula 1 to be lectured on politics or other world problems. They need to remember that.

    15. I think the point has been made on racism.

      I knew that racism was bad before they started kneeling before every race, so it didn’t change much for me but maybe for others.

      If they are going to continue highlighting a cause before each race then maybe have a different theme?

      2021 to highlight world hunger, 2022 homophobia, 2023 violence against women, 2024 minorities in concentration camps in China.

      These are all causes no less important than trying to end racism.

    16. It feels as if Formula 1 management is in dire need of Bernie Ecclestone. Since he has departed, there is confusion and rainbows.

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