FIA clarify controversial new rule after Lewis Hamilton warning

Drivers will be banned from making political, religious and personal gestures.

Formula 1 is watched by millions of people worldwide, making it a perfect place to spread important messages and raise awareness about certain issues.

Lewis Hamilton has used this exposure to good effect in recent seasons, for example by wearing a t-shirt calling for the arrest of the police officers that killed a young black woman called Breonna Taylor in the USA during the Tuscan Grand Prix.

Ahead of the upcoming season, the FIA announced that a new rule would be put in place that would prevent the drivers from making any unapproved political, religious or personal gestures.

The confirmed punishments that can be handed out for breaching this rule include fines, time penalties and the deletion of qualifying/race times.

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Many of the drivers on the grid have expressed their concerns about this new rule, suggesting that it is unfair that they have been silenced by the FIA.

Lewis Hamilton has said that he is not surprised by the new rule but will not hesitate to accept a penalty in order to continue doing what is right.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

“But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I’m passionate about. I am still going to be speaking my mind.”

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In the wake of the backlash to the new rule by drivers such as Sergio Perez, Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris, the FIA have now added further clarification to the new rule.

It has now been confirmed by an FIA spokesman that the ban on gestures will only apply to enforce “neutrality during key moments” of a race weekend, such as “podiums, national anthems and official activities on the field of play.”

While this still makes the rule slightly vague it is now clear that drivers will no longer be able to wear t-shirts during pre-race ceremonies, with Sebastian Vettel having worn a rainbow t-shirt before races in the Middle East in support of the LGBT community.

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Drivers will still be able to “express their views on any political, religious or personal matter before, during and after” official activities in “their own space.”

The new rule still severely restricts the drivers’ actions over the course of a race weekend, making it unlikely that they drivers will be satisfied with this clarification.

With the Bahrain Grand Prix only weeks away, it will eb interesting to see how the drivers act under this new rule and whether anyone dares to risk the harsh penalties.