Stefano Domenicali tells drivers not to ‘attack’ Formula 1’s partners

F1 drivers will be banned from making unapproved political, religious or personal gestures this season.

With Formula 1 being one of the most watched sports around the world, it has become the perfect place to send a message and speak out against important issues.

The likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have used this opportunity to spread awareness about various issues and injustices, with both drivers wearing rainbow clothing and helmets to races in the Middle East to protest against the illegality of homosexuality.

Hamilton has also work ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirts in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in the USA, sending a powerful message to the world.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has told the drivers to stick to driving from now on, banning these unapproved gestures and claiming that motorsport should not become political.

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Many drivers on the current grid have expressed their concern about this new rule, however F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has defended the rule, suggesting that boundaries needed to be set.

“My position is very simple. We race as one. To promote discussion and use our platform in the right way,” he told Sky Sports.

“I do not believe [it is about] preventing the driver from communicating with the community. It is a matter of respect.

“What I don’t like is when you say something to attack another. That is wrong.

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“You are a driver. Respect the partners you work with.

“You need to be balanced. No-one will put barriers up, unless it is political because we are a sport.

“To highlight attention on certain subjects that are at the centre of discussion? No problem. I’m sure the FIA share that view.

“There are places where you can do it. But respect your partners. You must follow the process.”

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It has been suggested that the FIA are trying to protect countries such as Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, who are growing increasingly more involved in Formula 1 in recent years.

Protesting against the awful human rights issues in these countries is something that the drivers have been very keen on doing, however should the Middle East become upset with F1, it could cost the sport millions of dollars.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen has suggested that the drivers will still speak up for what they believe in, FIA ban or not, leaving fans to wait and see how this pans out when the season begins in a couple of weeks’ time.