Formula 1 drivers have been urged by both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in recent weeks to use their massive followings on social media for good, by sharing important messages and causes.
This is something that the drivers may be forced to do more often, as the FIA have now banned them from making political gestures during race weekends without prior approval.
Lewis Hamilton famously wore a t-shirt calling for the arrest of the police officers who killed Broanna Taylor as the Tuscan Grand Prix, while Sebastian Vettel has worn multiple custom helmets protesting against various issues in the countries that F1 travels to.
With the 2023 season fast approaching, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has issued a warning to the drivers, claiming that F1 is not a platform for these gestures and agendas.
“You can use sport for peace reasons but one thing we don’t want is to have the FIA as a platform for private personal agenda,” said Ben Sulayem.
“We will divert from the sport. What does the driver do best? Driving. They are so good at it, and they make the business, they make the show, they are the stars. Nobody is stopping them.
“There are other platforms to express what they want. Everybody has this and they are most welcome to go through the process of the FIA, to go through that.”
The change in regulations following the FIA’s discontent with these political gestures means that drivers now have to wear their race suits done up to the neck on the podium, preventing any t-shirts from being shown.
Rob Koehler, the chief executive at Global Athlete has slammed the FIA for their new restrictions, telling the Telegraph that it is against the basic human rights of the drivers to try to silence them.
“Freedom of expression is a basic fundamental human right and sport rules cannot supersede human rights,” said Koehler.
“Many people look up to athletes as agents of change. The example set by the FIA is that every child, youth and adult watching the sport should remain silent on social justice issues. It is simply wrong. Shame on the FIA.”
It remains to be seen how strictly the drivers will follow these changes in the regulations, as the likes of Lewis Hamilton have never been content to sit quietly while there are so many injustices in the world.