UK peer urges Lewis Hamilton to boycott some Formula 1 races

Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal about his concern surrounding the human rights records of some of F1’s host countries.

Formula 1’s presence in the Middle East has grown significantly in recent seasons, with the 2023 season set to feature races in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

Unfortunately, some of these countries have very poor human rights records.

Lewis Hamilton has been one of the drivers that has been vocal about these issues, wearing a rainbow design on his helmet during many race weekends in the Middle East to show his support for the LGBT community.

The Brit will be somewhat silenced this season however, as political gestures have now been banned by the FIA, unless the drivers gain prior approval from F1’s governing body.

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Liberal Democrat Life Peer Paul Scriven, who is also vice chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, has urged Hamilton to consider boycotting races unless he receives assurances about the human rights in the Middle East.

“Lewis and others would be correct to say that, unless F1 and the FIA put in place a framework which is in lune with the United Nations’ guiding principle on business and human rights, that he and other drivers would feel uncomfortable about racing. And unless that framework is put in place they would seek not to race,” said Lord Scriven.

“They could increase pressure, both in terms of highlighting the topic, but also getting the dinosaurs of managers and administrators of their sport to actually put in place the correct framework so there is a systematic legal approach to how F1 and the FIA decide where to race.”

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F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has been very clear in his stance about the issue, claiming that Formula 1 are closely monitoring the situation.

“We really do care about this issue and we have also in our countries very clear articles that if we see something that is not going into the right direction we have immediately the benefit of stopping that relationship. We have independent auditors following that,” he told Sky Sports.

The punishments for making political gestures can be as severe as the deletion of lap times and time penalties and it remains to be seen whether any driver will risk these punishments to continue to speak out about important issues.