Freedom for drivers to speak their minds is an “essential value”- Magnussen

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In the round-up: Haas driver Kevin Magnussen says drivers should have the freedom to express their views after the FIA announced new restrictions on competitors making political statements.

In brief

Freedom for drivers to speak minds an “essential value”- Magnussen

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen believes that drivers having the freedom to express their beliefs and values is “essential”.

The FIA has amended its International Sporting Code to forbid participants in its events from making “political statements” without the governing body’s permission. Magnussen is the latest driver to criticise the move.

“I still need to understand it,” Magnussen told Sky. “I guess many of us still need to understand what that means.

“I grew up in a country where we’re all free to express our views and religions and are free to speak our mind. I think that is a value that I appreciate and would like to see in Formula 1 as well. So I’m curious to see how those conversations are going to go.

“It’s just not great. I would like to have the freedom – not that I necessarily plan to do anything – but I think that freedom is an essential value.”

Silverstone protesters guilty of public nuisance offence

A group of protesters who invaded the Silverstone race track during the start of the British Grand Prix have been convicted of causing a public nuisance at Northampton Crown Court.

The six protestors of group Just Stop Oil were arrested after walking onto the live race track soon after the race began. However, the race was coincidentally neutralised due to the violent accident involving Zhou Guanyu seconds earlier.

The BBC reports that judge Mr Justice Garnham warned the protesters that they might face jail time. All six were released on bail and will be sentenced on 31st March.

Wehrlein taken to hospital for checks after practice crash

Formula E championship leader Pascal Wehrlein was taken to hospital after suffering a heavy crash in bizarre circumstances during practice for today’s Hyderabad Eprix.

The Porsche driver crashed at the final corner coming to start his first flying lap of the session, spinning and hitting hard into the barrier. Wehrlein was heard claiming that his throttle had been stuck open over team radio and as the session resumed, both Porsches and Porsche-powered Andretti cars sat out the session while the team investigated the accident.

In a statement later posted on social media, Porsche announced that “Pascal is okay but has gone to the hospital for some precautionary checks.”

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Comment of the day

Guenther Steiner believes that there is no value in adding an 11th team to the F1 grid, but @bascb doesn’t share the Haas team principal’s view…

Sure, doesn’t add anything worthwhile for the existing teams, since they will be competing for points, attention, drivers, engineers, mechanics, and sponsorship.

For the sport overall though? Or for fans? What’s not to like. At worst we get an interesting episode of how to fail. At best a great, fun and competitive team that upsets the competitive order!

Happy birthday!

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

On this day in motorsport

  • 50 years ago today home favourite Emerson Fittipaldi beat Jackie Stewart to win the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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25 comments on “Freedom for drivers to speak their minds is an “essential value”- Magnussen”

  1. Looks like the free thinking/speaking people of the West do not like being told what to do/think.

    Welcome to our world Mr freedom hater ;)

  2. Magnussen wants to be free to speak his mind.

    Sorry Kev … not in F1 you can’t!

    1. I thought he just did 🤔.

      1. Something along the lines of ‘something my somethings MBS’

  3. Magnussen doing exactly what a lot of other people are doing – jumping to the incorrect conclusion that their freedom is being eroded.
    Does he want to say that there should be more team in F1? I’m betting he considers how his employer feels about that when he speaks, and will decide not to support new teams publicly while in his current position. He might support the idea privately with his friends and family, though…

    It might not be a written rule, as in the ISC – but it has the same effect. What people say will always be influenced by who they represent – lest they no longer be allowed to represent them.

    And that insurance article…. Yet another factor behind the increasing costs of getting in to motorsport.
    So many events (and other things) have been lost due to spiralling insurance premiums.
    Is it due to the greed of the insurers trying to make bigger profits, or the greed of the consumers extracting as much as possible when making claims? I’d suggest both.

    1. Magnussen doing exactly what a lot of other people are doing – jumping to the incorrect conclusion that their freedom is being eroded.

      I see it more as the reprimanding hand smacking the hands that are looking at taking away that freedom.
      Verbally: “ah, ah, ah, don’t do that” “you’re being very naughty” – addressed to the FIA

    2. What people say will always be influenced by who they represent

      Magnussen doesn’t represent FIA or FOM.

    3. There is a massive difference between choosing not to say anything which would upset your boss and being told you mustn’t say anything at all without written approval from the FIA.

      At the end of the day, Kevin could say something about new teams which conflicted with the views of his team. He has that choice, and would need to accept any consequences arising from that choice. That’s the difference: one is a personal choice with possible consequences, one is a wooden rule in the regulations which prohibits speaking about pretty much anything without prior approval.

      1. There is a massive difference between choosing not to say anything which would upset your boss and being told you mustn’t say anything at all without written approval from the FIA.

        I don’t think there is a ‘massive difference’ – nor even a minor one.
        Saying something that disrespects people or breaks rules/codes of conduct are analogous to each other – and both naturally carry consequences.
        Choosing to say something is always exactly that – a choice. Nobody is ever forced to speak out.

        You seem to misunderstand that drivers can misuse the FIA’s media time and can speak about whatever they want to even if it is a sensitive subject – but if they do so without prior permission, they will be opening themselves up to penalty or punishment for breaching the ISC (need I remind you that all competitors voluntarily agree to participate under it and all other FIA rules).
        Could be a warning, but could equally go as far as suspension or loss of Super Licence.

        Now – over to the drivers to show who they respect, and how much.

        1. I don’t agree. One thing is being in an environment where you are free to say what you think, where that freedom is respected, because you are respected as a human being who has something valuable to contribute to the world. You are free to speak your mind and deal with the repercussions. So, it’s on you to be wise. Another, completely different thing, is to be in an environment where you are not free to say what you think, because the very act of speaking something against the “code of conduct” or against the law (fair or unfair), is immediately punishable, regardless if what you said is true or not. That’s a slippery slope towards widespread censorship and totalitarianism. No rule of conduct or law should restrict what people can say. (I’m not talking about IP) I think you conflate the two situations because both have consequences. But the difference is that in the nefarious case, you are punished for the act of speaking, regardless if you’re right or wrong, and in the healthy case, you can be punished for saying things that are wrong or false, not for speaking. There you’re judged by the content of your words. Let’s imagine that a team member would find something reprehensible done by FOM or FIA. In an ideal world, that person should be free to speak up, even if that puts the organisations in disrepute. There should be no rule forbidding people from doing so. Organisations aren’t above truth, even if they try to be.

          1. Which environment is which?
            A code of conduct applies to each and every team in F1, just as it does to the FIA.
            Drivers are always free to speak about whatever they wish, but there will be consequences in both environments for saying things that are deemed to be unacceptable or cause harm.
            Drivers are also still always free to say whatever they want outside of those environments (again, with potential consequences, depending on the content).
            As are we all.

            There is no slippery slope to anything here that isn’t already in place in both of those environments already.
            Drivers are free to talk about on-topic content at all times. The only thing that is ‘forbidden’ is taking the FIA’s media off topic. I really don’t see a problem with that, given that the FIA doesn’t (and can’t) control what the drivers say outside of those events. No freedom is lost here, including derailing the FIA’s media and commandeering it for another unauthorised and unrelated purpose – but if they choose to do so, they are also accepting the consequences (which may potentially be harsh).

            Let’s imagine that a team member would find something reprehensible done by FOM or FIA. In an ideal world, that person should be free to speak up, even if that puts the organisations in disrepute.

            They can.
            But they aren’t given free license to misrepresent the FIA or bring the FIA or any of its property into disrepute (which was also true long before these alterations to the ISC), nor to misuse any of the FIA’s media for unauthorised and unrelated purposes.

            What exactly are you thinking of, anyway?
            The changes to the ISC, in reality, only ‘forbid’ bringing unrelated content into (in this case) F1 that doesn’t relate to it directly.
            It even explicitly says what is unacceptable.

        2. I cannot understand why you would think they are even close to the same.

          One is a written roles which effectively bans drivers from saying anything at all without the written consent of the FIA (and by the actual role, this applies at all times, not just at events).

          The other is a social convention which allows a person to use their best judgement, but accept that there may be consequences is that judgement is flawed.

          One is a dictatorial system where the default position is “no”, where the other is what is known as “free speech”.

          1. I’ll try again, since my last reply was blocked. Has been happening more often recently…

            Respecting and adhering to rules is a social convention, every bit as much as respecting people is.
            It’s almost like you think that teams don’t have their own codes of conduct that employees are required to adhere to, nor consequences for breaches.

            I’d contend that the default position in both environments is no – you don’t make your team look bad or go against their wishes/rules, just the same as you don’t make the FIA look bad or go against theirs.
            But if you do, there will always be the potential for consequences in both environments.
            Remember, the drivers are public representatives of both parties at all work times in F1.

            Also, in both cases – drivers are there of their own free will, and voluntarily agree to respect and abide by all rules; written, implied or otherwise. Both their team’s and the FIA’s.
            Play by the rules or don’t play.

          2. Following the rules is far from social convention. I’m going to give this one last try.

            The position of a driver not wishing to upset their team is like someone wanting to please their partner. They may watch TV programmes they’d rather not, compromise on holiday destinations, or give things up for their benefit. This is freedom, with the only restrictions being those places upon yourself.

            The FIA’s position is now like one partner saying “if you upset me, I will punish you. If you don’t like it, leave me.” That’s no longer freedom, no longer voluntary. It’s abusive.

            I’m going to leave it there, though. If, after all those, you can’t see the difference between the two, then our understanding of the world’s is so far apart that we may as well be from different planets with no common language. If you truly believe that a rule banning something is the same as a desire not to upset someone, I’m wasting my breath here. I struggle to believe that you actually believe what you are saying, but if you do, there’s no point in me even attempting to continue this conversation as I cannot even begin to understand your point of view.

          3. Following the rules is far from social convention.

            It’s exactly social convention. Look what happens to the people who don’t – they face and experience consequences. They made their choice, usually with the knowledge of what it means and what the effects are.
            Most people choose to obey the rules at least most of the time as they ultimately know that’s what’s best for them and for everyone else. It’s a basic part of existing within a group or society. A social convention….
            Rules (written and.or unwritten) are the structure of life – and even more so in things (such as sports events) that operate in a privately controlled and entirely voluntary environment.

            I cannot even begin to understand your point of view.

            Abundantly clear for quite some time.

          4. I’m going to drop this them, because our points of view are fundamentally incompatible. I cannot understand how you can believe that following written rules is a social convention, and you don’t seem to be able to understand why I think they are completely different. At this point, continuing the discussion is not worth while.

            Abundantly clear for quite some time.

            Clear to you…

          5. FYI, I had a discussion with my wife about the rule/social convention comparison. She agrees with you on that issue (that following rules is a social convention), and we spent some time examining it from several angles, so I feel I understand you better now.

            I still believe there is a fundamental difference between a written rule and a social convention, but I can see that following a rule is a social convention itself. It makes a massive difference to me whether something is a codified, written rule or an unwritten social convention, but I can see now that others don’t necessarily hold this distinction and have dinner understanding of why that is.

            Therefore, I apologise for not seeing this. I still disagree with you, but I can see some validity in your opinion.

  4. playstation361
    11th February 2023, 1:26

    The conspiracy theories goes on.
    I think FE came as a tool to improve certain things to a higher level.
    I see envy in these paid, published so called news reports.
    Today how much news we want to create awareness. Do you also want your children and other family to get into mass communication or what. Ultimately this creates unhealthy gossips.
    Mistakes happen.

  5. Does anyone else see a hans device on the shoulders of the new Ferrari team shirts?

  6. Sneaky filming by someone regarding the TORNADO Twitter user.

  7. I think drivers should be able to speak their minds when interviewed. I hate this corporate comments. Montoya (one of my favourites) was possibly the last driver who spoke his mind. The other thing I want to comment on is new teams. The more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. I know teams dont want to share the cake with additional teams, but as a fan I want to see ore cars. Surely it also give an opportunity for new young talent to get into F1.

    1. Exactly. The rehearsed PR answers that drivers and team members give make the whole interview exercise a waste of time. It’s all meaningless, generic and vague words that we hear over and over, year after year. People are robbed from their personalities behind the PR wall. Also, it’s very concerning to me that people don’t see how these apparently innocuous rules restricting what can be said, can be a slippery slope towards totalitarianism. Freedom of speech should be untouchable. It’s necessary for a healthy world. Forbidding people from expressing their views is an obstruction to the pursuit of truth. And truth is in everyone’s interest, whether you see it, or not. There’s nothing more valuable in life than truth.

  8. Maybe by becoming lion Charles can lead Ferrari to championships

  9. I think you can only choose from Ferrari champions or current drivers.. oh wait.. I don’t know what is point of that

    1. You can also choose your favorite ferrari car and track from limited options

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