Ex-F1 driver Vitaly Petrov will serve as the driver representative on the stewards’ officiating panel for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
The appointment was questioned by Lewis Hamilton, as the Russian recently made a series of controversial comments about gay people and Hamilton’s efforts to raise awareness about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
Specifically, he said Hamilton’s decision to wear a t-shirt which called for justice for Breonna Taylor was “too much”.
He also said: “And let’s say a driver admits to being gay – will they come out with a rainbow flag and urge everyone to become gay as well? I think the FIA will no longer allow such behaviours.”
When asked for his thoughts on Petrov being involved in the officiating of the Portuguese Grand Prix following his controversial comments, Hamilton said:
“I’ve not seen all the quotes, obviously you’ve just recited some of them.
“So yes, of course, that is I would say a surprise to see that they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs and is so vocal about things that we’re trying to fight against.
“So you should take it up with them really, it’s nothing I can particularly do anything about it,” he added.
Continuing, Hamilton said: “But we should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the times that we are living in and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us.
“So I don’t really quite understand what their goal is or why particularly he’s here because it’s not that they don’t have any other good options.”
In response to Hamilton’s comments, the FIA said it appoints “driver stewards with the relevant Formula 1 experience and expertise to carry out this function at the highest level, and who have expressed an interest to the FIA in being a driver steward.
“The Federation does not discriminate in this process based upon views expressed outside of their function as an FIA Steward, provided that any such expression does not contravene the FIA’s regulations and Code of Ethics,” it added.
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