Helmut Marko put the FIA on blast for its recent ban on F1 drivers making political statements.
Helmut Marko, Bold and Unfiltered As Always
As reported earlier, the FIA (the governing body of Formula 1) amended the International Sporting Code to prevent F1 drivers from utilizing the racing platform to make political, religious, or personal statements. Under extra-ordinary circumstances, such statements would only be allowed after seeking approval and written permission from the FIA.
Such a controversial move did not sit well with fans and many on the grid. Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas posed the question of why the FIA “wants to control” the driver’s voice. Now, Red Bull Racing Team Consultant and backbone of Red Bull Racing, Helmut Marko has criticised the move.
In a recent interview with RTL, Helmut Marko lamented on how wrong this move was. Marko said, “That is clearly wrong. They [the drivers] are responsible citizens who are in the public eye, and who know how and what they have to say. In general, we are in a democratic society, and everyone can express their opinion.”
Few individuals such as McLaren CEO Zak Brown have in contrast, supported the FIA ban.
Also Read: McLaren CEO Zak Brown Invites Criticism After Supporting FIA’s Recent Ban
FIA Afraid Of The Examples Set By Vettel and Hamilton?
Four-time World Champion, Sebastian Vettel infamously once donned a ‘We Race As One’ shirt with pride colours at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Neither did he shy away from making a blunt statement at the Hungary Grand Prix by wearing a helmet with the pride colours, in protest of Hungary’s abysmal human rights record when it comes to the LGBTQIA+ community. When faced with the threats of sanctions and bans, Vettel simply stated, “They can do whatever they want to me I don’t care, I would do it again.” Such defiance possibly didn’t sit well with the FIA.
Another driver who has never shied away from standing up for the right cause is seven-time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton. Like Vettel, Hamilton has been a strong ally for the LGBTQIA+ community, with him strategically wearing his pride helmet at the controversy laden Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. The lack of human rights and queer rights were highlighted. He didn’t mince his words when he spoke about having a problem racing at Saudi Arabia in 2021.
Hamilton has also previously used the racing platform to shed the spotlight on racial equality. He went to the extent of wearing shirts appealing for racial justice for individuals like Breonna Taylor – a victim of police and racial oppression. The Silver Arrows had in fact changed the colours of its livery from their traditional silver to black to support the Black Lives Matter movement before reverting back to its traditional colours in 2022.
Also Read: Formula 1 And Its Owners Hit Back At FIA President Sulayem’s Comments On Formula 1’S ‘Worth’
What did the FIA Exactly Amend?
The newly amended article states – “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.”
If the new code is not adhered to, drivers will face penalization. This controversial censoring is being imposed upon all forms of motor racing under the FIA, and not just on Formula 1.
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