FIA could punish drivers with penalty laps and fines for violating new rule

Lewis Hamilton has revealed that his 2023 helmet will incorporate streaks of the LGBTQ+ flag, in support of the community.

With the 2023 season just a couple of weeks away, the FIA have revealed more details on their ban of “political, religious and/or personal statements”, following immense criticism from the vast majority of the drivers.

During the launch season a general theme has been the drivers revealing their shock at the governing body attempting to take away their freedom of speech, with many wondering how they’ll be punished should they choose to take action and show support for a community or a campaign.

In response to the backlash, the FIA have tried to document what is and isn’t allowed come the Bahrain Grand Prix, and how a driver could be punished.

After updating the International Sporting Code (ISC) “participants are not permitted to make political, religious and/or personal statements in violation of the general principle of neutrality during [the] FIA press conferences (except in response to direct questions from accredited journalists).”

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However, drivers can “express their views on any political, religious or personal matter before, during and after the International Competition, in their own space, and outside the scope of the International Competition”, on social media and during media interviews, including the FIA press conferences.”

Concerningly, though, Sky Sports News understand that wearing an LGBTQ+ themed helmet, for example, would be considered by the FIA as a breach of the ISC and would result in punishment, unless the driver in question is granted permission by the FIA before the event.

Lewis Hamilton has already demonstrated his position against the FIA’s stance on freedom of speech, by revealing to the world his helmet for 2023, which does involve the LGBTQ+ flag.

The 38-year-old has stated that he’s committed to using his voice and platform at the pinnacle of motorsport and that he won’t let the FIA “stop” him from supporting various campaigns and communities.

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“These issues are still so important to be spoken about,” Hamilton told Sky Sports News

“I think we’ve come a long way. I think we’ve seen great progress, but there’s more to do and we are still going to places where there are still issues and I know there is work being done in those places too and these things can take time.

“I’m going to continue to be me and continue to fight for things that I am passionate about. I wouldn’t let anybody stop me from doing that.”

Hamilton added that the FIA’s rule change didn’t “surprise” him, with the Brit set to take zero notice of it.

“It doesn’t surprise me. But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I feel that I’m passionate about and issues that there are.”

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With Hamilton and several other drivers set to ignore the governing body, the potential penalties have been revealed for breaking ISC article 12.2.1.n, with it including potential race disqualification.

Penalties may be inflicted as follows, as reported by RaceFans:

  • Warning
  • Reprimand (blame)
  • Fine
  • Obligation to accomplish some work of public interest
  • Disallowance or deletion of a Driver’s race, qualifying and practice lap time(s)
  • Drop of grid position(s)
  • Obligation for a Driver to start a race from the pit lane
  • Time penalty
  • Penalty lap(s)
  • Drop of place(s) in the classification of the Competition
  • Drive-through penalty
  • Stop-and-go or stop-and-go with a prescribed stop