Hamilton, F1 Stars Warned Time, Place For Free Speech

Lewis Hamilton and his fellow F1 drivers were told on Friday they can still speak out on controversial issues — as long as they choose the right time and place.

Ruling body, the FIA, clarified its directive over a clampdown to prevent “political, religious or personal” comments without prior approval.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton had reacted to the rule by insisting: “Nothing will stop me from speaking on the things I am passionate about”.

On Friday, the FIA said drivers will be able to “express their opinions on any political, religious or personal question” in “their own space and outside the framework of competition”.

This would include during media interviews and via their own social media channels.

On the other hand, the FIA said “during the key moments of all motorsport competitions, such as the podiums, the national anthems and official activities”, drivers will not be able to express their opinions.

The FIA did concede, however, that there could be occasions which would be treated “exceptionally and on a case-by-case basis”.

Drivers who do not comply with the ban may be subject to various penalties, ranging from a warning to suspension.

Hamilton has been one of F1’s most vocal drivers on social and political issues, including taking the knee on the grid in support of civil rights.

“The sport has a responsibility to speak out and create awareness on important topics, particularly as we are travelling to different places. So nothing changes,” said the Mercedes star this week.


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