The FIA president has explained the decision to prevent drivers making “political statements” without the governing body’s permission.has been updated for this year to stop drivers and other competitors from making unapproved statements.
An addition to the ISC has banned “the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for international competitions, or by the relevant ASN for national competitions within their jurisdiction”.
Competitors are also advised that “failure to comply with the instructions of the FIA regarding the appointment and participation of persons during official ceremonies at any competition counting towards a FIA championship” will now be considered a breach of the regulations.
Several Formula 1 drivers in recent years have used their helmet designs or clothing choices in the paddock to show their support for various causes. The new restrictions have prompted some criticism.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem explained the change. “We are concerned with building bridges. You can use sport for peace reasons,” he told reporters. “But one thing we don’t want is to have the FIA as a platform for private personal agenda.”
“We will divert from the sport. What does the driver do best? Driving. They are so good at it, and they make the business, they make the show, they are the stars. Nobody is stopping them.”
“There are other platforms to express what they want. Everybody has this and they are most welcome to go through the process of the FIA, to go through that.”
“I have my own personal things, okay, but it doesn’t mean I will use the FIA to do it,” Ben Sulayem added.
The clause in the ISC does not entirely ban political statements, providing they are vetted by the FIA first.
“If there is anything, you take the permission,” said Ben Sulayem. “If not, if they make any other mistake, it’s like speeding in the pit lane. If you do it, it’s very clear what you get.”
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46 comments on “Drivers must not use FIA to promote “private personal agenda” – Ben Sulayem”
Red Andy (@red-andy)
11th January 2023, 10:47
I look forward to the pre-race display in Jeddah, then, as the entire grid calls for an end to the Saudis’ war in Yemen. Or would that be the wrong sort of peace?
12th January 2023, 0:30
6 million are at risk of starvation. And the Saudi’s are deliberately destroying the agriculture sector. So they’re dependent on imports.. but there’s a blockade, which makes the situation worse. Also 85,000 Yemeni children died from starvation (2015–2018).
I wish more people knew this.
13th January 2023, 13:02
Surely they only have to kindly ask the FIA for permission, right …
Off course this Saudi national won’t let the feelings of the hosting country paying big money and his own feelings as a national stand in the way of a perfectly reasonable call for peace, right
Yeah, @red-andy, this “explanation” only goes about saying that they indeed purposely installed a rule to try and keep drivers from saying anything the corporations and autocrat regimes that pay for the sport do not like to be seen.
11th January 2023, 12:05
FIA presidents can use their private Twitter accounts to promote private personal agendas regarding potential entries into Formula 1, though.
So all’s good.
11th January 2023, 14:44
He didn’t say drivers cannot use any platform to promote their personal agendas.
Besides, how a potential entry in Formula 1 is a personal agenda. It’s in the core of the president’s job description to promote the sport and this also includes finding potential new comers.
11th January 2023, 16:00
Indeed. Actually, FIA presidents may also use the FIA to platform ‘private personal agendas’ against freedom of speech, even though that’s a fundamental right. So thank you FIA, very well done.
12th January 2023, 15:37
So the FIA president isn’t allowed to express his opinions on his personal twitter account?
Wow, you really are into censorship of the pettiest kind, aren’t you?
11th January 2023, 12:18
Well no, actually, if you look at the statutes of the FIA let me show a few examples:
These are clear political issues and in fact neutrality isn’t mentioned at all in the FIA statues.
They shouldn’t be saying they want to support and stand up for these political ideals in the associations very statutes which are supposedly core to their beliefs; but then when the matters actually come to attention in host countries and by primary sponsors of teams and events, hand-wave and say they are neutral.
The hypocrisy is just disgusting. At the end of the day they just don’t want to anger host countries, and probably have as a part of the contracts to race there that the host country will only be displayed in a positive light.
12th January 2023, 8:25
You are right. And as said many times before: I feel it is time for a new regulatory body. This one is from the 50s and frankly not fitting this day an age. I personally think the situation is from a societal point of view totally unacceptable.
12th January 2023, 22:26
Solid reminder of why some things are not just ‘personal’ agenda things @skipgamer
13th January 2023, 13:04
Very good points made here @skipgamer.
Would be interesting to see drivers wanting to make a statement about these things cite the FIA statues they are perfectly aligned with when they next want to protest abuse of human rights, discrimination or protest ruining the environment.
Will be interesting to see how the FIA will then try to reason that they can’t.
11th January 2023, 12:48
This is what happens when they appoint someone from a maledom tribal autocracy
11th January 2023, 13:41
The changes were accepted by the WMSC
11th January 2023, 14:08
Yes true the whole of F1 is making this greedy mistake, for the money. It’s his individual influence tho, as his home country is well down in every human rights issue, gay is illegal etc etc, and right in the firing line for not far off any modern ‘agenda’.
Plus he simply doesn’t get democratic debate. But yes he’s a choice F1 made, for the middle east money, and a really bad one imo.
11th January 2023, 14:54
He wasn’t F1’s choice – he was voted in by other members of the FIA in a democratic election. There were other options for people to vote for…
These rules aren’t exclusive to F1 – they cover all FIA-sanctioned and affiliated motorsport series.
As with all rules – when they are respected, there is no problem.
And there are more than enough hours in the day and other places in the media to spread whatever message drivers want to spread.
Adrian Hancox (@ahxshades)
11th January 2023, 15:09
Absolutely this – the wailing and gnashing of teeth with people making a mountain out of a molehill again is priceless, perfect bait for the off season – the story that keeps on giving!
11th January 2023, 16:09
FIA get nearly all their money from F1, they choose each other. And now officially they and their cronies can’t be criticised, like a true self serving kleptocracy. F1 going back in time culturally. And ethically.
11th January 2023, 19:22
Which they likely will do on their known social media platforms.
Thankfully, to avoid being labelled as grade A hypocrites the FIA, FOM and the race promoters will be keeping all the politicians away from the start, finish or podium procedures.
12th January 2023, 15:39
You misspelled “Elect”.
Nulla Pax (@nullapax)
11th January 2023, 12:55
Caring about one’s fellow man, opposing social injustice and oppressive regimes is not what I consider to be a “Private personal agenda”
Chop a few hands off – that will teach them to behave Ben.
11th January 2023, 14:17
“If not, if they make any other mistake, it’s like speeding in the pit lane. If you do it, it’s very clear what you get.”
Is it clear what you get? I bet that if Hamilton showed up to the first race wearing a BLM shirt, the FIA wouldn’t have a clue how to handle it.
Have they defined what a “political statement” is? If they’re asked about something in an interview, will they be punished if they answer it or should they say “no comment.” What punishment will be given if someone breaches the rules? Is it the same regardless of what the driver does or is there a scale? What happens if someone breaches the rules multiple times? What if a team breaches the rules and puts a logo on the car that’s deemed political or a team manager says something deemed to be political? Does the team get punished or them individually?
The list could go on and on and on but I bet none of this has even been considered by the FIA and as usual, when someone breaches the rules, the FIA will go into panic mode and will start making backroom deals that leaves everyone confused and unhappy.
11th January 2023, 14:46
I’d expect the official media would be under the same expectations – so anyone who goes off-topic and asks such a question may just not be invited to the next GP.
You ask too many questions….
I’d suggest, though, that it is best that you assume that the FIA is still the FIA – they’ll do whatever they see fit at the time, because they have the power and right to do so.
Although I expect it would never come to it, the FIA can suspend drivers and even cancel their super licence for breaches of the code. If they did ever go that far, you can bet most drivers would fall into line pretty quickly and show appropriate respect for the rules.
11th January 2023, 15:26
What if a sponsor wanted to make a statement? For instance Williams is approached by a sponsor to run a special livery or kit at a Grand Prix, would they need to get approval from the FIA to make a business decision?
11th January 2023, 15:35
If the sponsor merely wanted to make a controversial statement, F1 wouldn’t be the best place to do it.
If, somehow, your scenario actually played out – the team would need the FIA to approve it. If the team ran it without approval despite knowing it is (likely) in conflict with the FIA’s code, then the team would be liable to punishment.
For clarity, the FIA were ‘on-board’ with Hamilton and Mercedes making their on-car statements in previous years.
11th January 2023, 15:58
10.6.2 Competitors taking part in International Competitions
are not allowed to affix to their Automobiles advertising that
is political or religious in nature or that is prejudicial to the
interests of the FIA.
12th January 2023, 8:28
I am sure that if the amount is substantial an exception can be made..
13th January 2023, 13:07
What if that advertising would include citations of the FIA statutes that mention HR and protecting the environment (see what Skipgamer wrote above) though Alan
11th January 2023, 15:34
Season opening will be held in Bahrain, right?
Wearing a thawb is going to be considered an open religious statement? Will Mr. Sulayem use it as usual?
11th January 2023, 17:36
Yes, and of course we have no concerns over despots using F1 to promote their own personal agendas. Well done indeed.
The Edge (@the-edge)
11th January 2023, 18:17
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem Is a stain on the world and should resign immediately
11th January 2023, 21:45
Makes you wonder again about ABU DHABI 2021. Was this also those ‘racing gods’ saying enough is enough?
11th January 2023, 22:34
Yes exactly. It’s obvious Masi got a call to change his decision that’s why there’s a NDA and he’s never said a thing about it. And now Bin Sulayem claiming he quit because of social media, when anyone doing that would’ve been giving indignant interviews all over – obvious lie. And add in the Brazil penalties and the second lap at Spa…
Because more money with a new WDC, same as more money with censorship (they think).
12th January 2023, 1:13
Would’ve been easier to give a fair penalty at silverstone, like a dq, I mean, take your opponent out, you’re also out, if they wanted to have a new champion; apparently they didn’t.
12th January 2023, 21:29
Lol wotaboutsilverstone. Pat Symonds himself said it was Max’s own wake that made Lewis understeer, cutting in leaving no space, it shouldn’t have been a penalty at all. The playbook was to take every opportunity, or just make one up if that wasn’t enough.
13th January 2023, 1:24
Hamilton wasn’t born yesterday – he knows both the location and the effect of the wake from another car.
13th January 2023, 8:04
Max didn’t know, how unfortunate!. But did the stewards? is the point
13th January 2023, 11:34
Is it though? Because if they were indeed aiming towards what some are insinuating they were then Silverstone was a much better opportunity than taking a whole night at the last event to somehow right the whatever error race director made that day.
Alec Glen (@alec-glen)
11th January 2023, 23:18
Classic from Bernie this one. Point the finger at others claiming they’re doing something wrong to provide cover so you can do exactly that.
12th January 2023, 2:58
Hmm.. unclear what is meant by “Personal” here.
1. The entire F1 platform supported “We Race as One”.
– When Lewis wears a “Say Her Name” T-shirt, it falls under “We race as one”
– When Seb has the rainbow on his helmet that is also covered
2. F1 has sustainability goals for 2030
– When Seb preaches about the environment he is covered
So where are the “personal” statements?
OH! You mean like when Max says “we talked about this before and I don’t want to speak of it again…”?
12th January 2023, 8:25
And clearly defined what it is/was about. Anything not already covered requires prior approval from the FIA.
Nope – personal statement. The FIA don’t support this message in F1’s media space.
Rainbow colours were accepted as part of F1’s We Race As One campaign. They have since been removed.
F1 has very clear and detailed plans for their sustainability programs, however weak and exclusive they may be.
But it doesn’t include drivers going off script and making their own personal statements, as Vettel has.
That had nothing to do with any of this. Totally different subject matter altogether.
12th January 2023, 4:36
I hope this doesn’t scuttle any plans to have Henry & Rachel do a pit walk in the land of the dollar bill, or “jointly” wave the chequered flag at Silverstone.
12th January 2023, 5:33
12th January 2023, 7:45
What is a team sports the rainbow colours as its design. Or if all the fans at a race rock up wearibg the same will the whole team or all the fans be banned from the track?? I wonder…
12th January 2023, 8:15
Car liveries are subject to FIA approval, as noted above.
Although the previous point makes this virtually impossible – ‘the fans’ are free to wear pretty much anything they like that isn’t generally offensive. They aren’t the ones that everyone comes to look at, and won’t likely have a camera pointed at them.
The ISC doesn’t apply to them, as they aren’t participating.
12th January 2023, 13:31
Kerry Maxwell (@kerrymaxwell)
14th January 2023, 18:59
Anyone who considers fighting against racism, homophobia, and misogyny “personal agendas” is not fit for civilized society.
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