Lando Norris, McLaren, Suzuka, 2022

Norris hopes pressure from drivers leads FIA to U-turn on politics clampdown

2023 F1 season

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Lando Norris hopes the FIA eases the new restrictions it has introduced on drivers making political statements.

As RaceFans revealed in December, a revision to the International Sporting Code for 2023 prohibits “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.”

Several drivers have already criticised the change and called on the FIA to clarify the broad new powers defined in the ISC. Speaking to media including RaceFans at today’s McLaren launch, Norris became the latest driver to question the change.

“I think it’s very important that it’s clear as drivers we can all voice our opinions,” he said. “I don’t think Formula 1 should go in the direction, or rules should go in the direction, of limiting what we can do and say and influence as drivers. Because we’re only wanting to do things for the best.

McLaren MCL60, 2023
Gallery: McLaren launch new MCL60 for 2023 season
“We’re not going to want to use it in any wrongdoing way. We’re doing it because we have a lot of fans, millions of fans, millions of viewers who we want to influence and guide or to help them personally. So we should have freedom of speech.

“We should be able to say and do what we want. That’s what defines people, it’s what creates us, what makes us human. Of course there always needs to be good reasoning to do so and so on. It is better when, as a community, as Formula 1, we come forward as a group, we do statements and so on.”

The rule risks silencing drivers completely, Norris believes. “The drivers and ourselves should be able to have our own say in anything at the same time. As long as we have freedom of speech – I think that’s something Formula 1 are supporting it – then I’m happy.

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“But if things start to get blocked off and we can’t even talk and say anything then no one’s going to want to do media and anything because you just can’t say anything. Everyone is going to turn into a robot and just say the same things over and over again.

Norris in his 2023 race suit
“So we need it, we are only trying to help people in the world and give advice and so on and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be allowed to do that.”

Norris isn’t sure how any drivers who broke the new rules might be penalised, but said: “If it’s a fine or something I’ll probably have to break it. If it’s a bit more then not.”

However he is hopeful that the response from drivers will prompt the FIA to rethink the rule. “I feel like there’s been quite a bit of pressure and enough said to maybe make a little bit of a U-turn,” he said.

“F1 I think have made things clear with what they think is acceptable and what we should be able to do as drivers. And I guess that’s what I stand by.

“I think we should be able to say what we want and what we believe in. Like I said, I don’t know the penalties and exactly how strict and whatever. But we’re not in a school, we shouldn’t have to ask about everything and say ‘can we do this, can we do that?’

“We’re grown up enough to try to make smart decisions and maybe sometimes people make silly decisions but that happens in life. So I hope so and I believe so, I think there’s enough drivers have said things now to push back a little bit.”

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Author information

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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10 comments on “Norris hopes pressure from drivers leads FIA to U-turn on politics clampdown”

  1. Precisely Lando. It’s not a school, it’s a highly paid profession which requires keeping lots of stakeholders happy.

  2. And I guess that’s what I stand by.

    He seems pretty certain of what he stands by I guess🤔

    I would have loved to have seen all the drivers digging through the rubble in Turkey/Syria. Using their private jets to get aid in (food & water may have presented a weight problem) but surely not clothing & blankets that I’m sure they could have sourced cheaply given their standing. Or using their platform to demand their government stack a fleet of C-130’s or whatever they use now to create an air-bridge of aid. Can’t think of a lot more human rights than not being left to die under rubble.
    Apologies to those who may have donated anonymously, but to me it’s not the same as giving those doing rescue work a break.
    Then again they do have an important sport to play😪

    1. Too many virtues to signal to actually get involved…

    2. That’s what professional rescue workers are for. Surely the corrupt governments of Syria and Turkey can afford to pay for professional aid, after years of stealing from their own people and not spending anything on infrastructure upgrades?

      1. Quite right. Those babies &children should have been out protesting that very thing. Clearly lives from different cultures or religions have different values.

    3. @davedai Not only did the FIA ban all that in December, but technically they even banned requesting aid – which some of the drivers did do – since that could also be interpreted as a political gesture. When one is testing the water, which some of the drivers are doing, one does not do it by jumping in immediately.

      1. @alianora-la-canta thanks nice to see you again adding vim & vigour 👍

        1. @davedai Thank you for the compliment :)

  3. Poor Mohammed didn’t expect all this democracy! Fondly imagining he had all that power, and now look.

  4. But we’re not in a school, we shouldn’t have to ask about everything and say ‘can we do this, can we do that?’

    Please sir am I allowed to pass Daniel?

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