Formula 1 broadcaster Will Buxton has admitted that he is “regretting” defending the FIA earlier in 2022, when the governing body enforced a ban on all jewellery wearing by the drivers whilst in the cockpit.
His change of heart comes as a result of the FIA’s ridiculous update to its International Sporting Code, with drivers effectively banned from displaying support for a campaign or community without getting the permission of the governing body first.
The update to Article 12.2.1.n means that drivers will be seen as having broken the rules if they show “the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its Statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction.”
The update has been made despite the FIA having been praised for allowing drivers to support the likes of the LGBTQ community and campaigns like ‘Black Lives Matter’.
The latter saw an incredibly powerful and symbolic moment between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, with the German having been the first driver to take a knee alongside the seven-time World Champion.
Hamilton and Vettel have been known for supporting several movements over the years, most notably through clothing and stunning helmet designs.
For any of such to happen now, drivers will need to be granted permission.
It remains to be seen how often the FIA will grant permission, something which will dictate how much freedom they are going to give the grid.
Should they be strict and ban the likes of LGBTQ-themed helmets in the Middle East, where same-sex marriage continues to be illegal, then it could be seen as an attempt to take the drivers freedom of speech, a right that should be granted across the globe.
It is the latest crackdown by the governing body, who banned jewellery wearing earlier in the year, despite Hamilton having fought the FIA over the matter.
Whilst jewellery wearing hasn’t been allowed in the cockpit for several years, the sport has never been strict on the matter, with the drivers having been granted the right to make the decision themselves.
New FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem went to extreme lengths to get the drivers to follow the rules, which involved giving Hamilton an ultimatum.
Hamilton was warned that he’d be given a race ban should he not remove his jewellery, something he was advised by doctors not to do.
The ban on supporting campaigns without permission is seemingly the next move in a horribly negative direction, something which is disappointing to see.
Following the update, Buxton has suggested that the FIA are “attempting to curtail freedoms we took for granted”, a view that the vast majority support.
“Will freely admit I’m now regretting my stance earlier in the year that I believed the FIA was right in its vehemence over the jewellery issue,” Buxton wrote on Twitter.
“I believed they were merely trying to uphold the rules. Not, as it now seems, attempting to curtail freedoms we took for granted.”