HomeMotorsportsF1McLaren CEO Zak Brown invites criticism after supporting FIA's recent ban

McLaren CEO Zak Brown invites criticism after supporting FIA’s recent ban

McLaren Chief Executive Officer Zak Brown has given his stance on the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) banning Formula 1 drivers from making political statements.

We Race As None

The FIA recently amended the International Sporting Code. The amendment consequently bans any political, religious, or personal statements made by drivers, unless pre-approved (with written permission). This ban applies to all racing under the FIA.

The FIA feel this is a stride towards the value of neutrality that it promotes. It was not an uncommon phenomenon to see various political and social issues highlighted by Formula 1 drivers during race weekends. Additionally, Formula 1’s initiative of ‘We Race As One’ complimented such activism on a huge platform. Drivers such as Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton paved the way for drivers to use their platform to highlight prevalent issues. Drivers would take the knee, wear shirts and helmets to put the spotlight on matters of racial, sexual equality and political issues. But the recent amendment implemented by the FIA puts an abrupt halt to such activism.

Also Read: FIA bans drivers from making political statements

Zak Brown Gives His Unfiltered Take

McLaren CEO feels that this recent decision is beneficial for the sport of Formula 1. Brown feels that every race does not have to be a political agenda for someone. This ban provides a much needed ‘balance’ to the sport in Brown’s eyes. According to Brown, viewers don’t tune in for political messages. They tune in for racing. He stated, “I don’t think that’s healthy, as it can detract from what everyone had tuned in to, which is they want to watch a Grand Prix.”

Everyone is allowed freedom of speech. It did get out of control at times with so much messaging going on… does it detract from the focus on the sport?” Brown asked.

Zak Brown still feels that there is an ‘open door’ for the drivers and the FIA to cooperate if an important issue arises. But he re-iterated that drivers “can do this stuff in their own time” but when they come to the racetrack, they ought to follow FIA’s Code of Conduct.

Also Read: George Russell sees himself at Mercedes for the rest of his career

Exposes Zak Brown and McLaren’s Tokenism?

Many racing fans were left bemused at Brown’s comments. In 2020 and 2021, McLaren was one of the Formula 1 teams who adopted pride colours to their car and racing suit. This was done to to lend public support to the LGBTQIA+ community and highlight barriers affecting the community. Many now feel that was mere brand tokenism after Brown’s recent comments. He has invited criticism with many accusing McLaren of tokenism nonsense and not genuinely ‘caring’ about the social and political issues. Instead, their acts of inclusivity and activism were an attempt to improve the brand image of McLaren.

Also Read: Formula 1 Team Principal Shake-Up Ahead of The 2024 Season

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