Zak Brown reveals opinion which will anger Lewis Hamilton

From 2023 drivers are banned from supporting campaigns and communities during a Grand Prix weekend, unless they are granted permission by the FIA.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has sensationally revealed that he supports the FIA’s move to ban drivers from showing support for communities and campaigns like LGBTQ and climate change, with the American believing that F1 should not be ‘turned into a political sport’.

Motorsport’s governing body shocked the F1 community recently, by revealing that updates made to the International Sporting Code for next season will mean that drivers are banned from wearing decorative helmets in support of something to raise awareness, unless they gain permission from the FIA first.

It means that Lewis Hamilton will be banned from wearing a rainbow-themed helmet in the Middle East, where same-sex marriage remains largely illegal.

According to the update to the International Sporting Code, drivers will have breached the regulations by showing “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”.

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If a driver wants to make a statement through their helmet design or through speech, then they will need to seek permission from the FIA first.

Many have criticised the FIA for somewhat taking a driver’s right to free speech away, with effectively a ban having been implemented on what someone can and can’t say, without facing punishment.

Brown, though, has praised the move by the FIA and thinks the governing body and F1 have the “right” to say what a driver can and can’t do during a Grand Prix weekend.

“I think it is within Formula 1 and the FIA’s right to say here’s the code of conduct we expect for you to follow during a grand prix weekend,” Brown told ESPN.

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“You’re free to do whatever you want to do Monday through to Friday, so to speak, but obviously it’s at a grand prix weekend the drivers have the most cameras on them.”

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It marks a sad turn of events for the FIA, with the governing body having previously been praised for allowing drivers to use their extraordinary platform to raise awareness for so many communities and campaigns.

Some incredibly powerful moments have been seen in the sport over recent years, with perhaps the most powerful of the lot having been when Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to take the knee alongside Lewis Hamilton, in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’.

Whilst it is yet to be seen how strict the FIA will be in regard to giving permission, many will hope that the system isn’t as strict as seen by FIFA, who banned LGBTQ armbands from the recent World Cup in Qatar.