Lewis Hamilton says the FIA’s clampdown on drivers making personal statements will have no impact on him.
The seven-time world champion has been one of Formula 1’s leading voices when it comes to wider issues surrounding topics including human rights, diversity and the environment. Hamilton regularly uses his platform to discuss such items but the FIA recently inserted an article into the International Sporting Code that could lead to drivers receiving sporting penalties for making statements that haven’t been pre-approved.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hamilton said. “But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I’m passionate about, and on issues that there are. The sport does have a responsibility still to speak out, to create awareness on important topics, particularly as we travel to all these different places. So nothing changes for me.
“I think it would be silly to say that I would want to get penalty points for speaking out on things. But as I said, I am still going to be speaking my mind. We still have this platform and there are still a lot of things we need to tackle. The support from Stefano (Domenicali, F1 president) has been amazing and I think all of the drivers have been very much aligned on freedom of speech.”
Hamilton’s teammate George Russell is one of the directors of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) and says he hopes the FIA’s move will prove to have been misunderstood, and backed Hamilton’s position that it won’t silence the drivers.
“I’m sure the situation is going to be clarified,” Russell said. “I hope and trust it will be resolved before the first race. I can’t imagine that they want to restrict any of us from any of our views. This is part of freedom of speech. We have our right to share our views across whatever platform we wish. So I don’t see this being a concern moving forward.
“I’m not too sure why the FIA have taken a stance like this, I think it’s totally unnecessary in the sport and the world we live in at the moment. Naturally we are seeking clarification and I trust it will be resolved. I’d like to think it’s been some kind of misunderstanding, but on that I’m not too sure.
“There’s not really a lot more I can say from that to be honest, just to seek clarification and see where we all stand. But we’re not going to limit our views or our thoughts because of some silly regulations — we’re all here to have free speech and share whatever views we may have.”