‘We will not change’: Stefano Domenicali backs Lewis Hamilton, dismisses controversial FIA move

The FIA introduced a ban on political statements ahead of 2023, after updating their International Sporting Code.

Tensions between Formula 1 and the FIA continue to worsen on a daily basis it seems, with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali having remarkably hit out at the governing body, following their controversial update to the International Sporting Code (ISC).

Following the conclusion of the 2022 season, the FIA announced a number of changes to the ISC ahead of 2023, with one in particular having angered the sport, the majority of the drivers and the fans.

The FIA announced that ‘political statements’ would be banned during a Grand Prix weekend, unless the governing body themselves grant permission.

Based on this, Lewis Hamilton will be unable to wear a t-shirt or a helmet in support of a campaign or a community, unless he is granted permission by the FIA first.

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Several drivers have questioned the FIA over why they are trying to control what they say and do, with it being a serious infringement of their freedom of speech.

Domenicali seemingly agrees with the drivers and has revealed that the sport will “never put a gag on anyone”, with the pinnacle of motorsport being a place to “give everyone the chance to speak”.

“F1 will never put a gag on anyone,” Domenicali told The Guardian.

“Everyone wants to talk so to have the platform to say what they want in the right way the better it is,” he added.

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“We have a huge opportunity because of the position of our sport which is more and more global, multicultural and multivalued.

“We are talking about twenty drivers, ten teams and many sponsors, they have different ideas, different views.

“I cannot say one is right, one is wrong, but it is right, if needed, to give them a platform to discuss their opinions in an open way.

“We will not change that approach as a sport. That should be the line of our sport, to give everyone the chance to speak in the right way, not with aggressive tones or to offend but with respect.”

The matter is clearly a dominating topic within the sport, with it having been discussed at virtually all four launches so far ahead of the forthcoming season.

Domenicali has revealed that the sport are keeping the “drivers informed” on conversations with the FIA, with the solution seemingly being a conversation between both parties.

“We keep monitoring the situation,” said Domenicali.

“We keep the drivers informed, we meet with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Associations (GPDA) to discuss it.

“How we can allow the drivers to be open as human beings in our sport. Athletes can be very emotional and passionate about some things and they need to discuss that constructively with people they trust.

“I had a discussion with the drivers about this last year,” he continued.

“About how F1 could be a platform, to have a spotlight on certain things we believe are right to talk about.

“F1 should help the drivers if they want to discuss certain subjects. It is important to have a very constructive dialogue. If this is not happening it can create either confusion or problems where there need not be problems.”

The big issue for F1 is that the FIA is its governing body, meaning that what they say, goes.

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Domenicali is hopeful, though, that the FIA “will clarify” what the updates to the ISC mean exactly, with the hope being that political statements will be allowed but in respect to “certain places”.

“We are talking about a regulation and the regulator is the FIA,” added the Italian.

“I believe the FIA will clarify what has been stated, in terms of respecting certain places where you cannot do it. I am sure the FIA will share the same view as F1 but they are part of an Olympic federation so there are protocols to which they have to abide.”