Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2023

‘I don’t care if I don’t win another race, I’m going to speak out’ – Hamilton

2023 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton says he does not care “if I don’t win another race” in Formula 1 and insists he’s “going to speak” on political issues “whether people like it or not”.

F1 drivers’ positions as political advocates has been a hot topic during the off-season following an update to the FIA’s International Sporting Code that restricts competitors from making political statements without the governing body’s permission.

No driver has been punished for violating this yet. The FIA recently clarified the scope of its new regulations, and confirmed drivers could face sporting penalties up to disqualification or exclusion for violating them.

Several F1 drivers, including Hamilton, have said ahead of the start of their season that they will continue to speak out if they choose to.

“I always say that I feel that we need more empathy and compassion in the world,” said Hamilton in an interview with motorsport podcast The Fast and the Curious.

“There are all these things that people are finding challenging within different countries, through governments.”

The seven-times world champion said he feels “a huge responsibility” to exploit his profile as one of the world’s most famous sportspeople.

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“This is a platform to really spark change, spark conversation, which is I think the beginning of those things,” he said.

“Sparking those uncomfortable conversations, and then holding people accountable who have been happy with the status quo in the past which has held people down, which has made people not included, and that frustrates me. And it goes into that kind of fear thing.

“We can make change, and I want to be a part of helping that and making people feel more included.”

Many F1 drivers in the past have been involved in charitable endeavours away from the race track, while others have lent their name and their finances to karting initiatives, often in their home countries.

In the last few years there has been more attention on what drivers have said and done during grand prix weekends. Hamilton and the now retired Sebastian Vettel have become known for highlighting political concerns in the countries F1 raced in.

“Motorsport, for example, or any sport of business, shouldn’t be able to continue with not being diverse,” Hamilton added.

“There’s not enough access for people from that [LGBTQ+] community, there’s not enough access. You don’t see a lot of people with disabilities within [our paddock]. When have you ever seen someone working in our industry with disabilities?

“There’s so many things we need to challenge and fix. And also we’re going to a lot of countries where they have these challenging human rights issues where humans just are not treated as human beings.

“In the past people just brushed by it, and it’s not important. It is so important that someone speaks out on it. I don’t care if I don’t win another race, I’m going to speak on those things whether people like it or not.”

The seven-times world champion stands as the most successful F1 driver of all time in terms of race wins, with 103 to his name. However he endured his first ever win-less campaign last year.

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Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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96 comments on “‘I don’t care if I don’t win another race, I’m going to speak out’ – Hamilton”

  1. Every bit counts when it comes to making a change. Change takes time and it takes voices that can be heard. Voices such as Lewis’ are in a position to be heard by many. As uncomfortable as it might get it is still worth it.

    Undoubtedly there will be others who disagree with me (and Lewis). Can’t wait to hear their well thought out reasons.

    1. I could not have said it better. Thank you.

    2. Completely agreed

    3. 100% agree! Well said!

    4. +1 Well said.

    5. So far most of us agree with you. I certainly do. Just imagine the backlash if Hamilton gets on the podium and speaks out and gets disqualified for that! It would make the message he was conveying reach the whole world over night.
      And most of the F1 world, including teams and drivers would probably make clear the FIA has overstepped.

      1. This is the exact messy scenario I can see the sport getting into with this! How ridiculous they would seem.

    6. +1 Definitely agree with you. And while I wholeheartedly agree with the underlying sentiment of Lewis’ statement (drivers should absolutely continue to speak out on causes that matter to them), it is categorically false that he doesn’t care if he ever wins again. I wish he would be less hyperbolic when making these statements because they just come off as lacking the sophistication that the topic deserves.

    7. Well said. So refreshing to read this when most early responses to articles like this are people complaining about the mere mention of these topics.

    8. I agree. Well said!

    9. The question isn’t about what to say or whether to say anything. It’s about the when and where. Every sane person on this forum hopefully agrees HAM should have the right to express his opinions – no matter if they agree with the expressions or find them necessary to be expressed in the first place.

      I happen to agree with HAM on human rights issues as well as race and gender remarks he’s made in the past. But I do not agree he has the right to express these opinions wherever and whenever he please. The fact that an employer or a media outlet limits what levels of expressions (or, indeed, actual opinions) they accept is not an infringement on freedom of expression or any other human right of the employee or letter writer. It is, in fact, simply the exercise of the rights and freedoms of the media outlet or employer to control which opinions they will be associated with. As is often the case rights of various parties collide. I have the right to swing my arms around – but only up to the point where the smash into somebody else. Same with rights. Just as you cant force Twitter to allow you to express any opinion, nobody can force Liberty to do so. Not even HAM.

      I find any claim to justify a limitation on Liberty’s rights quite odd. And when it is done in the name of the rights of expressions for a person who can speak to almost any other media outlet at his own leisure more than a little hypocritical….

      1. This isn’t Liberty, though, it’s the FIA. And neither of them are the driver’s employers, they are entities with corporate/organisational values which are supposed to support the very things Lewis and other drivers are raising, while holding races in countries which strongly oppose them and giving them tacit approval in doing so by silencing the drivers.

        Now that I would feel the same way of the rights of any driver to criticise any country actively promoting themselves through F1 (politicising it in doing so) while acting against them fundamental beliefs of the driver, let alone the stated values of the organisations in charge of organising the events. If a devout religious person wished to speak against things their religion prohibits, or someone wanted to speak out against capitalism, that’s perfectly fine in my view. But when they are speaking about issues the FIA, in particular, claims to actively promote and care about, and the FIA is attempting to stop them from doing so in a situation they control, that’s hypocritical at best.

      2. I’ve never called on Liberty or the FIA, as private organizations, to not have the right to determine what their own rules of conduct are. But I can say that when they do try to muzzle drivers, I find that to be utterly hypocritical. Is it within their rights? Absolutely. Is it repugnant and deserving of harsh criticism? Absolutely.

        My hope is that the drivers will continue to speak out, regardless of whatever fines the FIA may impose. I am hopeful that the teams and/or their sponsors will put their checkbooks to work backing up their stated corporate values.

        1. Is it within their rights? Absolutely. Is it repugnant and deserving of harsh criticism? Absolutely.

          Absolutely agreed.

      3. Hard disagree when you’re highlighting clear factual human rights issues backed up by independent bodies. I’d not agree that a driver could do a post race interview and say something racist. That’s the only kind of nonsense that would be and I’m sure is rightly banned. But saying something to help others.. come on. That’s fascist nonsense.

        1. Personally, I’m ok with racists outing themselves in public. Get them out of the shadows and into the open! Then we can know who they truly are.

    10. In my opinion, the fact that voices such as Lewis’ are in a position to be heard by many puts them at an unfair advantage when they address issues outside the world of motorsport. At the end of the day they’re just people who jet around the world to drive racing cars, that doesn’t give their personal political views any more validity than anyone else in society, they just happen to have a huge worldwide following because of how skilled they are at driving a racing car.

      If a regular member of the public wants to make change as you speak of they have to put a lot of effort into it whether they get involved in local or national politics or some sort of activism. It will probably require the ability to debate and argue their point, not the case if you’re a Formula One driver. You can just plaster messages on your helmet and dictate your views to a very receptive interviewer with being challenged on anything you say.

      1. Some people get an advantage in doing certain things in our society. It’s much easier for an MP to get the law changed than a regular person. It’s much easier for a mechanic to get a car fixed or a new part than a regular person. Heck, it’s much easier for my mum to get her shopping than most people, as she works at a supermarket.

        If a person wishes to do something, they are going to use the resources at their disposal to do so. That could be money, contacts, personality… Or the ability to reach a wide audience through their celebrity status. To do so is both natural and expected.

        As a really trivial example: at school, I could produce 3d rendered images for projects due to my father being a CAD draughtsman and having taught me how to use the software. I used that to enhance my work, where appropriate, and it would have been a bit stupid not to. Others didn’t have that resource, but many had greater artistic skills or other resources to help them. We all used what we had, added effort, and produced results from that.

        1. Well an MP stands for office in order to do precisely that, a tradesman goes into their profession in order to practice their particular trade. There’s quite a difference between that and a racing driver preaching their political views to a large audience who are there to watch them compete not campaign. To me that’s more like the MP getting their their car fixed for free because they are in the position to change laws affecting the mechanic.

          1. What about other celebrities, then? Should they be banned from speaking about causes close to their heart? Who should be allowed to say what? Should the CEO of a technology company be banned from speaking about global warming? Should an MP be banned from speaking about medical matters?

            Should the local bar staff be allowed to ask the punters to sponsor their kid in raising money to cure cancer? I mean, it’s nothing to do with their job, and they are exploiting a massive advantage they have over, say, someone who works from home….

          2. No not at all, the banning part of this really doesn’t sit easily with me. I think the drivers should have used better judgement and kept their mouths shut in the first place. As for other celebrities, I really have no interest in anything they have to say.

          3. The only other way I can see to take what you’ve written, then, is that people shouldn’t use the advantages they have to promote things which are important to them. So, back to the example above, the barmaid shouldn’t ask the punters to sponsor their child.

            If so, I can see your point, but I don’t it’s will ever happen. People will use their own advantages to… Well, to their own advantage. A celebrity will use their visibility to reach people, a rich person will donate money to help, a business person will use their contacts in industry to assist, a skilled artist will help produce posters… This is how the world works and how it’s always worked.

            To me, it’s commendable that the drivers have begun to use their status to help others instead of hoarding it only for racing and their own personal enrichment.

          4. @jackisthestig That’s the most ridiculous take on it I have ever seen. It is unfair that they can use their platform to change things for the better when others can’t, so they shouldn’t do it?

            – It is unfair that I’m in a position to pick up the trash, so I shouldn’t
            – It is unfair that I’m in the path of a thief, so I shouldn’t stop him

            The excuses people make these days are incredible. It’s almost less annoying when people are openly hateful, instead of hiding behind ridiculous reasons those that actually do something should stop and keep their mouths shut.

          5. It is unfair that they can use their platform to change things for the better when others can’t, so they shouldn’t do it?

            To be fair to him, it is generally unfair the amount that certain people are able to accomplish due to their advantageous positions. For instance, rich CEOs of large companies have much easier access to politicians to try to get thing changed in their favour than the average person, and their opinion carries more weight.

            That said, complaining that someone is using their advantaged position to try to help people is less reasonable. It’s not far off calling it unfair that the rich can donate more to charity than the poor*, in my opinion.

            * Although, there is an argument to be made that it is unfair that the rich can choose whether to donate to charity and which causes they support, whereas the majority of the “charitable” donations made by the poor are done through taxes which they have no control over…. Isn’t it fun playing Devil’s Advocate with yourself? lol

    11. COTD right here. 100% agreed

    12. @corsair As French economist Bastiat quipped; the worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended.

      The low point of this was when tax-dodging millionaire Vettel from the brown coal mining capital of Europe, who races cars for a living and flies around the world 20+ times a year, saw fit to lecture Canadians on their use and extraction of natural resources. The result was entirely predictable; he was made to look rather silly by Canadian politicians and ended up handing these politicians an easy win and, by association, probably setting back the opposition to Canada’s chosen policies as well.

    13. So a sportsman’s opinion is worth more than those of us who don’t have a public platform?

      1. How is that even closer to what was written?

  2. So why is he still occupying F1 seat if he doesn’t care about winning? Just retire and then you can post whatever you want on Instagram every day, all year long.

    1. @armchairexpert He would have done Rosberg if he wouldn’t care about winning

  3. Again, this is not about free speech, this is about (of course) revenue. Making use of platforms built by FIA and Liberty to vent ones opinion (or as it is seen: build on your own identity, presence and value) is something FIA and Liberty would rather not see, as that is not why they invested heavily in those platforms. Instead they would like drivers to use their own platforms (like their personal social accounts) for that.

    1. 100% This!!! He can talk about whatever he wants on his own media platforms, and the more he does the better, as its great he is highlighting certain issues, even if they are normally ‘flavour of the month’ issues. But the TV broadcast from Friday to Sunday is about 1 thing and 1 thing only…… motor racing. Otherwise all it does is encourage the ‘just stop oil’ groups and the like to jump the fence at tracks as the races begin to cause more chaos. “WELL IF LEWIS IS USING THE SPORT AS A POLICTICAL PLATFORM WHY CANT WE” etc

    2. I seriously doubt the regulation in it’s current state is what they originally planned. I’ve yet to see any reason why this was even required and the timing of its announcement after a world cup where sports washing came under such heavy scrutiny speaks volumes to me.

      1. Why this was required? Because they don’t want drivers to piggy back ride their platforms for their own (drivers) benefit (being either sincerely passionate or guilty of greenwashing).

    3. If it really is only about racing then
      There should not be grill the grid
      There should not be DTS
      There should not be any getting to know the drivers
      There should be no complaints about PR trained drivers.

      Either you think that the driver personas are valuable to F1 or you think they aren’t.
      Unless of course, your reasons for speech restrictions are not what you claim them to be.

      1. All the things you have stated about in that list are about motor racing, so you have kind of made my point. So thanks

        1. A lot of the things the drivers have to do off track are at the request of sponsors/their teams etc not F1. Corporate events, advertising and marketing, meet and greets. What if their sponsors/teams want them to talk about equality/diversity/the environment?

          They talk about this stuff while wearing sponsor logos. Thus getting more exposure for sponsors.

          Same thing, no?

          1. Cant see the sponsors asking their drivers to talk about that, as they will want to stay impartial, always. (no point alienating half of your possible customers) And besides, none of those type of interviews or requests happen on the live broadcasts. (and if it is on the live broadcasts its because the left wing media are trying to push their own agenda) And like I said, there is nothing stopping the drivers talking about their own political views on their own platforms, it is great that someone with Lewis’s exposure highlights these things. But the race weekend, in itself, is escapism from real life for most people that tune in to watch a sport, and that includes escapism from politics. And especially in this modern world where nearly every walk of life is having politics forced upon it.

          2. What about national anthems? Fighterjets flying over in the sky? Parades of dancers? A DJ coming to play at an event? Fireworks? None of that has anything to do with racing. Yet nobody seems to care.

            The only reason they want to silence drivers, is because they don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them.

          3. All the things you mention add revenue. Drivers speaking their mind doesn’t.

        2. All the things you have stated about in that list are about motor racing

          They are not. They are about the people behind the wheel and behind the pitwall. A passion for motor racing is just what they and their viewesrs have in common.

          Here are some Grill the Grid questions
          – Did you ever cheat at school?
          – When did you last google yourself?
          – Rank the drivers from tallest to smallest

          If you are of the opinion that people look at these segments for the motor racing trivia, then I fully support your right to express that opinion even though I think that it is incorrect.

        3. What about national anthems, with the drivers forced to line up at the front? That’s nothing to do with motor racing, overtly political and brought in through political pressure by a politician.

          What of military displays? These promote the military of the country, which is often engaged in politically motivated destruction of innocent lives. Yet it is nothing to do with Motorsport.

          There is a huge list of things which are heavily involved in an F1 event, yet have nothing to do with Motorsport. That one itself is no reason to ban them all, but if you wish to use that as the reason for banning the drivers from speaking, can we remove the rest too?

  4. The FIA has overplayed their hand here

    You have the statistically most successful Formula 1 driver of all time, who happens to be the first and only black driver in the series and who didn’t come from a background of privilege. Hamilton can happily continue to speak however he pleases regardless of the threats by the FIA and he will still always be remembered in the history books for his sporting achievements along with a side note that the sports governing body went to war with him because dared to speak out on matters of social injustice

    1. Plus, if he gets a penalty for speaking out, it will most likely gain the issue even more publicity…

      Literally, the FIA have shot themselves in the foot. If they had out a penalty, especially to Hamilton (due to the level of his celebrity status), the issue will explode causing exactly the opposite of what they are trying to accomplish and causing immense bad publicity for them. If they do nothing, they look toothless. There is absolutely no positive outcome for the FIA in this.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        28th February 2023, 20:19

        Can you imagine how the press would cover it if they gave Hamilton a sporting penalty for talking out against racism, for example. They would get absolutely slated and considering the rules say that you can speak about any topic if directly asked by someone from the accredited media, what do you guess would happen next? They might as well just send Lewis on his own to the press conference because no-one is going to get asked a question!

        1. Indeed, and I kinda like this, never been a fan of the fia!

  5. Just make it universal.

  6. Big respect to the likes of Lewis and Seb who speak out in places like Saudi Arabia about human rights.
    At first I thought it was a disgrace to go race in some of these countries, but now I see that going there and exposing them can be the real spark for change.

    1. We’ve been going to Bahrain for almost 20 years and not much seems to have changed.

      1. Have you been there lately?

        30 years working in the Middle East – the problems Bahrain has are largely to do with the fact there is a bridge to SA which makes it a none dry holiday venue and it has little inherent national sustained wealth just like Dubai.

        If the residents think it’s bad in those countries, they may wish to take a look at the standards that those immigrants building their country suffer.

        Trust me, it has changed immensely in the years of F1 – some steps back but mostly steps forward.

        I can remember when the absolute majority of the population lived in hovels, some with a badly fired Scud missile in the garden.

        It is a very different place. Given the Education Advisor was shadowing a UK appointment (actually a very good partnership) and the sixth fleet was parked off shore for a long time one can understand some hiccups.

    2. Aah, the old trick of taking the shilling then justifying it as “going there to shine a light on their issues”

    3. You should read this www . planetf1 . com/features/criticism-f1-selling-soul/

      1. I did read this and there is a lot of truth behind it. The second most common question I get asked by people who just found out I follow F1 is something along the lines of, “isn’t that owned by saudi arabia and some other gulf states now?” (after don’t you find it boring watching cars follow each other around a track for several hours?). It’s going to be hard for F1 to attract new young viewers if they continue to be so cozy with repressive regimes like these. I personally stopped following F1 in 2004 after 12 years when Bahrain was added to the calendar and didn’t come back until mid 2016. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have similar problems with the series. If F1 were to stop racing in countries like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and China there would be a good number of people coming back to the sport. It’s hard to get so attached to a racing series that has already sold its soul.

  7. I don’t see anything wrong with Lewis saying anything wrong here.
    Sure one can point at his tax return record, domicile status or lifestyle history when he raises anything related to sustainable energy or climate change. One can also say that it’s about F1 and anything/everything a driver say should be racing related, since they are simply using a platform provided by FIA and FOM to spread their personal philosophy and politics etc.

    But these drivers aren’t taking anything away from F1, are they? Also, we are free to criticise them if we don’t agree. Not like we(fans) are forced to listen & follow what they’re trying to spread. Shutting them up is not the solution here, it never was.

  8. Like all human beings in a free society Lewis is free to speak his mind on what ever topic he would like presuming he stays within the bounds of the law (no call for hate, violence and/or offending large parts of the population).

    However in controlled environments like a F1 race weekends he will have to keep to the rules outlined by the organization whether he likes the rules or not. So if Lewis is going to break those rules I really hope the FIA is going to punish him hard, very hard with race bans and huge fines (millions not thousands).

    Lewis always wants to have it all ways he likes – if he really wants to speak out of social issues (very good of him) he should quit F1 and be free of the restrictions that come with participating in F1.

    Also on this issue Lewis again shows to be very hypocritical and seemingly as always only see things from his perspective not others, his rights not his obligations and other people’s failures and not his own.

    1. Let’s just say that Lewis speaks about human rights, and receives a grid penalty for doing so. What do you expect the headlines will be? Maybe:

      “Hamilton punished for defending human rights”

      I’m sure that’s the public image the FIA want…

  9. Great focus Lewis, keep it up! :)

  10. Imagine if he used the platform that’s handed to him (from a podium or whatever) to broadcast something unpopular or commercially sensitive for the benefit of brand Hamilton.

    This is why the FIA want to stop it – letting drivers pick and choose causes to promote at their will is a genuine commercial risk.

    1. It’s also just common sense for these parties (FIA, IOC) to not want to get involved. They are global collectives that represent member organizations from all around the world, from socialists republics to constitutional monarchies to outright military dictatorships and all manner of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Their purpose is to promote sports, and in the FIA’s case a wide range of other automobile related issues, and to help organize events as guests of their own members’ nations.

      The drivers have 300+ days to talk about their ‘topic of the day’, and everyone who cares about their views can listen in and the FIA and everyone who doesn’t can just stick to motorsport.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      28th February 2023, 20:00

      Sure but that ship sailed years ago. They allowed drivers to speak up and even heavily promoted it so banning it now means they’ll be taking their rights away and therefore, it’s created a major problem. If a driver speaks out about human rights and you penalise them for it, you’re creating an absolute PR nightmare for yourself.

      If they’d said years ago that this sort of stuff isn’t allowed, no-one would question it now but they didn’t and they’re fighting a losing battle now.

      1. Exactly.

        This is lose lose for the FIA. The only way they can come out of it without either a PR nightmare or looking incompetent is if nobody breaks the rule. As soon as someone does, they cannot win.

      2. That wouldn’t happen, because the “the FIA shall promote the protection of human rights and human dignity” as per its own statutes. Their list of issues is quite specific (although not necessarily very limited).

        1. Ok, swap it for gay rights, and the situation is the same. The headlines accuse the FIA of homophobia, PR nightmare. Same for women’s rights.

          The FIA can try to put a better face on it, but the media love a headline like that. They are branded as a homophobic/chauvinist organisation, the damage is done and takes years and millions to repair.

          1. Unlikely, as the FIA statues also include those and many other potential grounds for discrimination as issues they are actively working on.

            The only political issue F1 has seen in recent times that would be guaranteed to have fallen afoul of these updated rules is something that was already penalized when it happened, and that was the Turkish GP being used by the organisers to promote the unrecognised state of Northern Cyprus.

          2. I hope you’re right, MichaelN. However, we have seen the FIA take positions which contradict the clearly-written rules, let alone the relatively-vague statutes which state its values.

            We’ll soon see. It’s pretty much nailed on that someone will test them on this rule over the course of the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it at the very first event.

  11. Fia, Liberty, Twitter, company you work for, your neighbors lawn, whatever – you aren’t entitled to express yourself through any channels but your own and those of parties volunteering to colport your opinions and beliefs. You can not and should bot be able to make it so at your behest, regardless of circumstances. Being forced to have or express specific beliefs is a far greater violation of rights even than censorship…

    The fact that FIA or Liberty claim to agree or are supposed to agree but secretly doesn’t is utterly irrelevant. As are any facts, circumstances or allegations that relate to possible hypocrisy on behalf of FIA or Liberty, whether true or not. It’s their channel. They decide. If I don’t like the smell in that particular bakery, I can get my bread somewhere else. As can you. Or HAM, for that matter. We can not – and should not – force a particular type of bread-making on any bakery but our own.

    You may sympathize with drivers (or others) babbling about their religion or speak out about capitalism as you please. Your sympathy or lack of same has no bearing on the principles of rights, do they?

    In the case of drivers in F1 who basically have microphones in their faces at all times, it is even less prudent to bend the principles of rights – they have far more available outlets than the average Joe. Plus they have many other options, they can even boycott races or – at least in the case of HAM, probably – pressure their real employee into various actions. Or buy the sporting venue they don’t like and close it :o) They aren’t exactly an endangered species that require preferential treatment, despite any attempts to spin a “poor little me” narrative…

    Now, if the rules were in fact an attempt to silence critique of FIA/LIberty/Venues/Countries through other channels and at other times, I would be just as vehemently fighting for the drivers rights and against censorship. But that is not the case. Thus…

    1. The above was a reply to a comment by drmause above. Sorry for the confusion…

      1. If they don’t like his speech or behaviour, they are welcome to kick him out of F1. That’s what Twitter, or anyone else, would do. They could also ban him from any of the ceremonies they’ve dictated shouldn’t contain “political” messages, so he isn’t in a position to break the rules.

        Completely up to them if they want to take the flack for anything like that, or for giving any sporting penalty. I’m sure they’d be happy with all the negative publicity, and I’m sure the countries involved would be happy with the additional negative media coverage this would generate for them.

        There is literally no good outcome for the FIA here if any driver, let alone Hamilton, breaks the rule. If they don’t come down hard on it, drivers will ignore the rule. If they do come down hard on it, the negative publicity will damage their credibility still further.

        1. they are welcome to kick him out of F1. That’s what Twitter, or anyone else, would do

          No. What Twitter and my employer and any newspaper I’d send a letter to would do, is set up a set of rules. If I violate said rules I might get kicked out if my transgressions were sufficiently severe.

          I agree it’d be mindless and a PR disaster to throw him out. I’m convinced they’d never. But they are sure to issue some penalties. Probably to Herr Wolff as well, and then they’d let the discussions take place at Mercedes HQ…

          1. Given that the only penalties of consequence would be sporting… Can you imagine the media backlash of Hamilton was penalised for speaking about human rights, homophobia, or the oppression of women?

            This would be the same with an employer. By disciplining an employee for fighting against homophobia, say, even if they’ve broken company rules in doing so, they give the impression that they don’t support the fight against homophobia. The backlash against them would be far too great for them to do anything about it.

          2. penalised for speaking about human rights, homophobia, or the oppression of women?

            They obviously phrase it differently. Blabla rules of conduct blabla. Warnings first, then fines for HAM, then for Mercedes, then bigger ones. Wait and see – it’s going to happen unless an adult steps in and explain the realities of modern sport to HAM. My guess is Wolff unless HAM looks likely to win on Sunday. Otherwise somebody higher up in Mercedes who like to sell cars to emirs…

          3. They can word it however they want, the media will see and print “driver speaks in support of human rights, gets grid penalty”.

            I agree it’s going to happen. The FIA have allowed drivers to speak their minds for many years, they will not just stop. The FIA will either punish severely, which will cause a PR nightmare for them, or they will punish lightly, which will just encourage others to break the rules. There is no way they can handle a breach which will not bring a world of hurt on them. They either look like they are against human rights (or whatever), or they look spineless.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      28th February 2023, 20:12

      The company I work for certainly have rules in place around what I can and cannot say. They wouldn’t fire me though if I publicly defended someone’s human rights. They’d be OK with that because it doesn’t go against what the company publicly says it believes in. If they fired me for defending someone’s human rights, they’d be in the papers the next morning and we’d get a statement from someone high up stating “mistakes had been made” and “we’ll learn from this” etc.

      Now obviously we all know why the FIA don’t want people making statements like this – because some of the people who pay them the most money disagree are the targets of many of the comments.

      Ultimately, there’s no hiding behind “we race as one” or whatever other corporate nonsense they come up with. They’re either on the side of those fighting for human rights and equality or they are against them and there are consequences either way.

      1. They wouldn’t fire me though if I publicly defended someone’s human rights.

        Of course not. But if you paraded around at meetings with customers or clients from Qatar in a T-shirt with an LBQT message and management disliked showing this message to these particular clients (even though they probably agree with the message), they’d get you for violating the dress-code. Or violating some other innocent set of rules. As would mine and most other. Companies tend not to mix business with pleasure, when the pleasure infringes on business.

        I’m quite certain all the billionaires in F1 agree with HAM. But they prefer to be billionaires. Heck, a handful of drivers have fortunes so vast they could gang up and buy Liberty flat out and do the messaging they wish. But even they (all of them, in fact) prefer their fortunes and don’t put their money where their mouth is. Let FIA take the blame. Without Qatar and Kazakhstan and China and Russia etc, there’d be no or little F1. They certainly wouldn’t like that….

        1. they’d get you for violating the dress-code

          And when the papers for wind of it, the company would be crucified. The very best portrayal they could hope for would be that of a petty jobsworth more bothered about how their employees dressed than human/gay/women’s rights.

          Just like if a company fired an employee for not wearing a hard hat when they ran into a burning building and saved a little girl’s life.

          1. And when the papers for wind of it, the company would be crucified.

            I honestly doubt that. Most of the world is not yet woke, for starters – Outside of western Europe and the US LBQT is considered farcical or unholy and authoritarian regimes is just the order of the day. Many motorsport fans aren’t particularly woke either, they just want to see some racing and don’t care much for gay rights and are more concerned with the fact that Bahrain takes place under artificial lights than the persecution of parts of the population by the regime. Sure, there’ll be an article or two in the guardian and washington post and an outcry from some activists online when HAM is fined, but that’s it. It’ll pass. Even most of racefans readers just think HAM should simply shut up play his guitar, I suspect…

            Lets see :o)

          2. I guess we’ll see, but I’ve seen plenty of headlines of a similar nature even from the right wing tabloids. This isn’t about being “woke”, this is about selling papers.

          3. This isn’t about being “woke”, this is about selling papers.

            Exactly right. They’ll each preach whatever gospel sits right with their readers. The more woke the audience of any given newspaper is, the more critical about a penalty, obviously, but the “wokiest” media have little focus on motorsport and wont waste much front page real-estate on a fossil-fuel-guzzling, multimillionaire driver being fined for not adhering to a driving regulation. I’m not British, and doubt it’ll even be mentioned in the fully (a)woke media in my country. Or most of the rest of Europe, for that matter. There’ll be a flareup on Sky News, Crofty will be outraged, BBC is likely to bring the token clamor as well as a few newspapers, but the rest of the world will either scoff at an entitled brat, shake their head over the state of the world and what levels companies need to stoop to in order to stay in business or just don’t care. Mostly the latter…

          4. You may be right, but I don’t think so. Did you see how much publicity AD2021 got in the UK? It was publicised well outside motorsport sections, and even hit front pages.

            The Daily Mail in the UK is a right-wing tabloid which often criticises “wokiness”, yet even they regularly print articles with scandals about people and/or companies in relation to LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, etc.

            There is little to gain from printing a front page article about a competitor getting a penalty for breaking a rule. However, it’s a much bigger story if an organisation is punishing someone for standing up for basic human rights. Even if it’s only picked up by those on the “wokier” side, there will be little to balance it because the opposing story is not very newsworthy. All most people will ever see from it is that F1 punished someone for speaking out about something the majority of the western world considers a basic right. Even if those people don’t have anything to do with F1 and don’t really care, it’s very easy for such negative publicity to snowball.

            But we shall see. I’m convinced someone is going to be found in breach of this rule of the course of the season, likely Hamilton but there are several others. The FIA will either give them such a light slap on the wrist that there is no disincentive, or give enough of a penalty that (IMHO) the papers get involved and a PR disaster unfolds. So we probably don’t need to guess about any of this, we can just wait and see.

            It’s going to be interesting.

  12. “When have you ever seen someone working in our industry with disabilities?”
    Has Lewis never heard of Frank Williams? A rather obscure man who’s team dominated in the past, so I can understand if he’s never heard the name. :’)

    1. Or over in the US Indy 500, Mel Kenyon

      “I was the first one to go to Indy with the modification for no fingers on one hand,” says a smiling Kenyon. “As I took my last two phases of the driver’s test, supposedly in traffic, they waved everybody off the track so that tells you how much they thought I could do it. But then we had really good finishes with the Lord’s help, a Third, two Fourths, and a Fifth in eight tries so that was pretty decent.

      Wasn’t too proud to go back to his roots and continue racing and winning until 76 years old.
      Under pressure from his wife and brother and not having a sponsor for the previous 9 years he retired in 2009.

      Some guys just love racing irrespective of their ability or disability.

  13. Can’t wait to see how the FIA wriggle out of this one.
    They cannot win, whatever they do – sometimes you let some things just be.
    Lewis speaks out on matters to do with racial and gender equality, and LGBTQ issues.
    In today’s world, no organisation can win by opposing anyone advocating that society does more to include underrepresented racial groups, women, and members of the rainbow community.
    The companies that sponsor F1 teams would run for cover if the FIA so much as tried to impose a ban on such campaigns, so it’s strange that the FIA didn’t see this coming when they issued their edict.

  14. So good to hear from A-train again, missed this.

  15. some racing fan
    28th February 2023, 23:54

    Good for Lewis. Let this be an example for all F1 drivers.

  16. Looks like my mute button will continue to get a workout this season then…

  17. “There’s not enough access for people from that [LGBTQ+] community, there’s not enough access. You don’t see a lot of people with disabilities within [our paddock]. When have you ever seen someone working in our industry with disabilities?”

    And that is based on what evidence? Nothing but ideology, the diversity dogma. All those people are minorities in the world. They will never statistically be representative for us to be seeing wheelchairs every 50 meters. Lewis, your brother has disabilities. You know it makes it way harder to be competitive in a sport that selects the best of the best. I’m not saying that therefore we can ignore them. No. But the fact of the matter is that F1 is technically, financially and socially an elitist sport. It’s a place where the most qualified, the most fit, and the most “good looking” people converge. People gather by what they have in common. If you want to make the entire world follow “diversity norms”, you can only achieve that by force, and that is not different from authoritarianism. Respect, yes, empathy, yes. Impinging diversity standards, no.

  18. Formula 1, and the world for that matter, are not a casting list for a Hollywood movie.

  19. Lewis should boycott races if he doesn’t like it (says Mick Schumacher)

    1. That is the whole point. Lewis has got plenty of means and channels to vent anything he wants. Liberty and FIA would like to use THEIR platform the way they seem fit. People are making this way bigger than it needs to be. It is a business agreement. You don’t have to adhere to it, when you do not want to compete within the framework of its owner.

  20. I would like to ask people to look back at the past couple of seasons in F1 and to give me examples of statements made by Hamilton or any other driver which would be deemed unacceptable. I can recall Vettel talking about gay rights, for example, and nothing he said was objectionable, or interfered with the racing in any way, and I’m pretty sure he was just talking of his personal opinions and not paid for by any sort of lobbying organisation. So what exactly is the problem? What specific reason does the FIA have for wanting to introduce this rule. If they provided actual bona fide examples, people might find the rule change more palatable. As it is, I think everyone feels this is really because the regimes in certain hosting countries do not take kindly to criticism of their human rights records.

    1. nothing he said was objectionable

      To You and me, You mean. Right? Some people consider it tabu, some wrong, some even a sin. Yes, that is deplorable, but FIA et al has decided, that educating the rest of the world about western ethics is not going to happen on their dime.

      That may well be a shortsighted or even a wrong decision (or it may be very wise, I don’t know) and may be sad or wonderful depending on what side of the fence you were moulded – but that’s their stance. You may consider it a silent endorsement of rights violations, just as somebody watching races taking place in the west from Bahrain may consider that a silent endorsement of various unholy or sacrilegious activities. It is, however, simply a choice to remain quit. FIA – like almost any other international sport claiming to be apolitical – refuse to pick sides publicly. This is not a decision against gay or any other rights, merely a decision not to side openly for or against any subject that clearly divides their audience. That is their right. Like it or not. And they are far from unique – all international activities, wether business or sport or organisations or anything else that operate in different cultures a faced with the choice of either remaining subtly quit or alienating parts of the world. Most – not all, I know, but the vast majority – choose as FIA…

      Vettel, on the other hand, has no right to make political statements through the F1 platform. I realise he and others feel entitled to such a right, but that right only exists in their own belief structures, nowhere else. They will need to utilise some other platform, of which plenty are fortunately available for superstars…

      1. quit = quiet. I need an edit option, Keith!

    2. The FIA wants to protect the sensitive feelings of immensely rich bigots. They want to pretend they are not a western organization and do not care about western values.

  21. When you have done your talking on track, it is important to keep talking off track.

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