Lewis Hamilton has brought a lot of attention to social justice issues over the last few years during Formula 1 races. However, if he wants to make a political statement or wear clothing with a message on it, he’s going to need permission from the sport’s governing body.
F1 drivers are now required to get prior written permission from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) to make ‘political statements,’ according to its website. The new clause says “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.”
Drivers who make such statements will now be in breach of the rules unless the FIA grants approval in writing. It’s unclear what the punishments are for anyone who violates the rule.
Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Hamilton and the now-retired Sebastian Vettel have led the way in social justice awareness and human rights messaging during races in recent years.
Along with bringing attention to the murder of Breonna Taylor and LGBTQ+ rights, Hamilton has made calls for human rights improvements in Saudi Arabia. Coincidentally, FIA’s current president is Mohammed Ben Sulayem of the United Arab Emirates.