Romain Grosjean plans on taking a knee before the start of the Austrian Grand Prix, with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association saying all the drivers will show their collective support for the fight against racism.
The topic of taking a knee has been growing in Formula 1 ahead of the first race of the season on Sunday, with Lando Norris suggesting such a protest against racial injustice had been discussed among the drivers. While others’ plans have yet to be revealed, Haas driver Grosjean openly stated his intent for the build-up to the race.
“In all fairness, Alex Wurz (GPDA chairman) has completely destroyed my Whatsapp by sending me messages every 10 minutes over the last two weeks with Sebastian (Vettel),” Grosjean said. “So the GPDA have been very involved in it and finding out what is the best way of showing our support.
“100% of the members are against racism and want the end of racism. Obviously you need to be careful in what you do and what you say, because there is a lot of political involvement as well in some of the messages.
“Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of taking the knee initially, but then I read more about it and I think now it’s a sportsman’s move to show that you are against racism and it’s not linked to any political movement. So personally I think I will take the knee.
“I think racism shouldn’t exist. I’m lucky I didn’t have problems — I’ve got a big nose but people can joke about it! — but I haven’t had problems with that, and I don’t understand how you can have problems with that but obviously it’s happening.
“I will show my support and I think it’s important that a global sport like Formula 1 is showing some support and creating ideas like #WeRaceAsOne, which is great for the diversity of the sport. Because without diversity it’s all going to be boring and a boring world wouldn’t be nice to live in.”
Grosjean’s stance was backed by the GPDA, with the drivers all given freedom to make a statement in any way they wish.
“The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has held a number of virtual meetings with all 20 Formula 1 drivers to agree how best to show their collective support for the fight against racism ahead of this weekend’s grand prix,” a GPDA statement read. “All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion and supporting Formula 1’s commitment to these.
“Together the drivers will all show their public support for this cause on Sunday ahead of the race, recognizing and respecting that each individual has the freedom to show their support for ending racism in their own way and will be free to choose how to do this ahead of the race start on Sunday.”