F1 drivers expressing concern over Mohammed Ben Sulayem as he faces sacking

The relationship between Formula 1 and the FIA is currently extremely tense.

Formula 1 drivers are some of the most famous athletes in the world, with only 20 drivers every season being able to compete at the highest level of motorsport.

With these 20 drivers being watched by millions all around the world, it is important to keep them safe and happy, as they are essentially the product being sold to the viewers.

Drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have often made sure that they use their exposure for good, making many political gestures to campaign against various injustices and crimes going on in the world.

The FIA have now banned any unauthorised gestures from the drivers, many any political, religious or personal gestures that have not been approved prior to the race a punishable offence.

READ: Ferrari warned they made a mistake hiring Frederic Vasseur

Multiple drivers have expressed their concern about this new rule, with Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and the recently retired Sebastian Vettel all voicing the opinions.

“I think everybody should be allowed to saw that they want and do more things that they want or have passion for,” Bottas told Sky Sports.

“People in this world should be free to say what they want. In a way, I don’t see the need to that kind of thing to be in the rules.”

While this new rule has made the F1 drivers lose some faith in the FIA, their relationship with Formula 1 officials is not much better, as the race calendar continues to expand.

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The 2023 season will feature a record breaking 23 races, one less than the 24 originally planned before the Chinese Grand Prix was cancelled due to COVID concerns.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has already admitted that he will not be able to attend all 23 races in 2023, having missed the 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix were Mercedes picked up their only win of the season.

Head of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association Alex Wurz has now admitted that the drivers have expressed their concerns over being burned out by the sheer number of races this year.

READ: Sky Sports presenter ‘paid the price’ for criticising the FIA

“Of course we have to ensure that the acting individuals are not burned out by too many races over the years, something the drivers are considering as a concern. As well as the concern that the audience accept more races,” he said.

“But I see no danger to the sport if the business interest sets the direction for long term sustainable models, which is what I see Liberty [Media] doing with the right balance. 

“Certainly we know that what sells F1 is the tracks and the product is the drivers themselves.”