F1 will be recognised for accelerating “progress” in countries like Qatar – Domenicali

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says the sport will be recognised in the future for the role it has played in encouraging countries such as Qatar to make “progress”.

The series is racing in the Middle Eastern country for the first time this weekend. It will hold its first grand prix in Saudi Arabia two weeks later.

Both countries have been criticised for their poor records on human rights which include strict legislation targeting women and members of their LGBTQ+ communities.

Domenicali said F1 has “no reason to hide” when it visits such countries. “As soon as these countries choose to be under the spotlight that Formula 1 is bringing, there’s no excuse,” he told Sky.

Countries such as Qatar “have taken the route of a change”, Domenicali believes, which F1 can help promote. “As always in life you cannot pretend that millennial cultural habits can be changed from day to night. It will be illogic and not rational.

“But I think that through Formula 1, through sport, they will have the intensity to make sure that the progress will be done in a faster time, in a faster way, that normally we would take to do these changes. And that’s why we are here with no fear and then to make sure that things are done in a proper way.”

F1 has been criticised for allowing countries with poor records on human rights to ‘sportswash’ their reputations by holding major events. But Domenicali expects the series will eventually be praised for engaging with countries like Qatar.

“I do believe that in a couple of years, in the future, someone will recognise the important role that Formula 1 have given to this important change of our society,” he said.

Before the race weekend began Lewis Hamilton said sports which visit countries like Qatar are “duty bound” to raise awareness of the human rights situations in those places. He is wearing a special helmet with a ‘Progress Pride’ design this weekend.

Domenicali is happy for drivers to use the sport to promote their views in this way. “As you know we are a platform where the drivers can say what they believe is right in the respect of the others, always,” he said.

“Therefore, on that, there is nothing new that we are adding because that’s a very current message that through ‘We Race As One’ we talk about diversity, we talk about sustainability, we talk about inclusivity or inclusion. And that’s why I would say that is really caught up with this approach, but always respectful of everyone.”

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2021 Qatar 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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21 comments on “F1 will be recognised for accelerating “progress” in countries like Qatar – Domenicali”

  1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    20th November 2021, 15:02

    Like UAE, China and Bahrain just to name a few? Very deluded.

  2. “You are very funny man Mr. Stefano, its nice, I like” – Borat

    1. That’s a good way to articulate my feeling on reading that @jaymenon10, thanks

  3. Having just watched qualifying, the only stand is half-empty and mostly full of British people. Where are the Qatar nationals? Is anyone there on the ground, are the prices too high?

    1. Qatar nationals are few and far between and mostly rich, over 80% of Qatar’s inhabitants are expatriates, it’s no wonder you’re not seeing many Qataris

      1. You mean immigrants.

        1. An expat has no intention of abandoning their prior national identity – a Qatari expat is a Qatari who has no intention of contributing to the country they live in. An immigrant intends to relocate no only physically, but mentally, they desire to integrate into the new country and become a member of its society. I personally know both types of Qatari, so, like always, simplistic thinking only instructs us how to view the simple thinker, not the situation

  4. “As you know we are a platform where the drivers can say what they believe is right” Unless it’s critical or Pirelli or Sprint Quali, right?

  5. yea maybe to accelerate the prominance of the rich and influentials…. but for human rights beyond the grid….nah….
    id trust hamilton to do more than the fia here

  6. Quality over quantity man… I speak of lying. I mean, if you’d like to fool anyone. F1’s influence in Qatar is so huge that I didn’t see more than maybe 2 or 3 locals in the entire audience.

  7. A flat and featureless track, with limited possibility for passing, limited stands half filled with expatriates instead of nationals, in an oppressive country out of step with a culture befitting of the 21st century. What a stark comparison to races in the US, Mexico, Brazil and Holland to name a few. A Grim Prix not a Grand Prix is more like it.

    1. FIA heard the compliants against Barcelona and acted fast: they add a new Barcelona track in Middle East.

  8. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.… like the great philosopher Greta Thunberg would say: blah blah blah

  9. Stefano is giving Mission Winnow-inspired declarations. Lots of fancy words without meaning, and nothing to back it up.

  10. If this guy told me day is light and night is dark I wouldn’t believe him without seeking a decent persons opinion.

    Liberty want wealth.
    They will lie, cheat and steal to achieve what they want.

    This is my personal opinion and I stand by it.

    1. you are entitled to your opinion. meanwhile, you are still consuming their product weekend in and weekend out

      1. Fair point.
        I could retort that I do not watch television coverage.
        I am only subscribed to RaceFans.
        I listen to Radio 5 coverage and use the basic F1 timing screens.

        I have always followed F1 and probably always will. I do not feel that I feed Liberty. I just follow F1.

        1. You should check “F1 Gamer” youtube channel. He makes good comments, shows map track and advanced timing screen.

  11. So happy to read that nobody likes Stefano and Liberty. Also me, obviously

  12. Stefano, in what way have you enouraged progress, except from just being there?
    Any actions taken?
    Didn’t think so.

  13. And how is that going on China? Have they disappeared any more athletes or business people for a period of ideological self criticism lately?

Comments are closed.