The FIA has cracked down on Formula One drivers, restricting the attire they are allowed to wear during their races.
The organization recently announced their racers will only be able to wear clothes void of slogans and messages when conducting official duties after Grand Prix races. They “must remain attired only in their driving suits done up to the neck” and wear a “medical face mask or team-branded face mask” during the formal proceedings of the races which include the podium ceremonies and post-interviews.
Drivers are required to wear T-shirts with the “End Racism” message before the national anthem and can make supportive gestures as long as they are “in accordance with the fundamental principles” of the FIA statutes.
The FIA — a non-political organization — already had rules that prohibited the statements their racers could make, but announced they would reevaluate its guidelines about drivers’ attire during pre- and post-race activities after Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton sported a Breonna Taylor shirt during a sporting event.
Hamilton, who is Formula One’s first and only Black world champion to date, took a knee on the race track during the Tuscan Grand Prix and wore the shirt to the podium after his victory. His outfit choice resulted in an investigation to determine whether he broke the FIA’s rules and should be fined for his attire, but the organization eventually decided against it.
Hamilton’s shirt called for the arrest of the cops who killed Taylor, but the opposite has since occurred. Only former detective Brett Hankinson was indicted on wanton endangerment charges while Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove walked away with no indictments.
Despite the investigation and the FIA’s new rules, Hamilton said he is adamant about using his sports platform to discuss racial issues.
“People do talk about sport not being a place for politics. Ultimately it’s human rights issues and in my opinion that is something we should be pushing towards,” he said. “Lots of rules have been written for me over the years and that hasn’t stopped me.”
“We have a huge collective group of amazing people who watch our sport from multiple different backgrounds and cultures,” he continued. “We should definitely be pushing positive messages towards them, especially for equality.”