Max Verstappen surprisingly backs up Lewis Hamilton as FIA defiance grows

Drivers will be unable to support campaigns or communities in 2023, unless they are granted permission by the FIA beforehand.

Double World Champion Max Verstappen has joined the likes of Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas in condemning actions taken by the FIA, in regard to the controversial ban on drivers making political statements.

It was announced not long after the conclusion of the 2022 season that a range of changes would be made to the governing body’s International Sporting Code (ISC), in a bid to become more aligned with other sporting governing bodies around the world.

In doing so, the FIA effectively announced a ban on drivers making political statements during a Grand Prix weekend, meaning the likes of Lewis Hamilton will be unable to support a campaign or community like he so often does.

The ban means drivers won’t be allowed to wear clothing or helmets in support of the likes of human rights or the LGBTQ+ community, whilst they are also banned from discussing the matters.

READ: Daniel Ricciardo reacts to Red Bull snub

Bottas has already hit out at the FIA for trying to “control” the drivers, despite not being someone who tends to discuss politics.

Verstappen is similar in the fact that he chooses to distance himself from political matters; however, the Dutchman also recognises that what the governing body are trying to do is wrong, with the 25-year-old believing that drivers “should be allowed” to make political statements.

Interestingly, the Dutchman is expecting the ban to have the opposite effect of what the FIA will be hoping for, with Verstappen predicting that “some people will speak more” in response to it being banned.

“I think personally everyone’s different,” Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.

Article continues below

“Some people are more outspoken than others, I’m not normally that outspoken of that because first all of it’s tough as a racing driver to be fully committed as well in terms of going into everything and making sure you know all the facts right.

“But I don’t think that it is necessary because in a way you are basically making sure that people are not allowed to speak anymore, which I think we should be allowed. And of course like I said before, some people will speak more, some not, but it was probably a bit unnecessary, yeah.”

The update to the ISC is just the latest in a string of issues that are causing tensions between the FIA and F1, with others including FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem publicly supporting Andretti-Cadillac’s F1 entry, the FIA president labelling a $20 billion offer to buy the sport as “inflated”, and resurfaced sexist comments made by him also.

READ: F1 admit driver concerns about the 2023 calendar

All the issues have concerned Verstappen, who is worried about the relationship between the sport and the governing body; however, he’s hopeful that the ongoing issues can be “resolved soon”.

“Yeah, for sure,” Verstappen said, when asked if he’s concerned about the tensions between the sport and the FIA.

“I always think that is very important and I’m sure of course, they are talking and I’m sure they also want to have a good relationship, and, yeah, let’s hope of course that will be resolved soon.”