The FIA is looking into whether Lewis Hamilton broke the rules by wearing a t-shirt at the Formula 1 Tuscany Grand Prix on which a message was written highlighting police brutality, again in the USA.
Lewis Hamilton, who took pole position and victory at Mugello last weekend in the Tuscany Grand Prix, wore a T-shirt before and after the race, with a message on the front that read: ” Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.”
On the back of the T-shirt was a picture of his face and the inscription: “Say her name.”
Breonna Taylor was a black American woman, who earlier this year was shot at her home by police, who had come to conduct a search in the course of a drug investigation, but in which she was not involved.
Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, shot at the police, thinking they were trespassing, and the police returned fire. Breonna Taylor was then hit by eight bullets and died as a result of her injuries.
The officers, armed with a search warrant, were acting on an incorrect APB for a wanted suspect who was no longer living in the building and was already in custody.
Although the FIA and F1 have been supporting the fight against racism and discrimination since the start of the 2020 season, notably by allowing drivers and team members to wear an “End Racism” T-shirt before each national anthem on race weekends, the fact that Lewis Hamilton decided to put a message that could be considered political on his T-shirt was disturbing to many.
FIA’s statutes stipulate that the governing body must be completely neutral in everything it does. In many ways, the FIA’s position is totally at odds with Hamilton’s current Zeitgeist doctrine of; inaction and staying silent is as bad as the proliferation of racist behaviour.
“FIA will refrain from discriminating and taking action on the grounds of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family status or disability in the course of its activities.”
Further, here is also a reference in the International Sporting Code which states that teams may not use a “political” message on their cars. In a typically FIA hazy rulemaking manner, nothing is mentioned about the drivers of the teams.
“Competitors taking part in International competitions are not allowed to place on their cars any advertising of a political or religious nature or prejudicial to the interests of the FIA.” confirms the FIA ruling.
Perhaps embarrassed a little, the German team seems to have lost control over its star driver in Hamilton, who now uses the manufacturer’s success in big-budget dominance to put forth his own politics to the world.
The Mercedes team, for its part, said on its social networks that the message posted last weekend by Lewis Hamilton in Tuscany was not political, but rather related to the issue of human rights.
“We don’t introduce politics in F1, these are human rights issues that we try to highlight and raise awareness. There is a big difference…” says Mercedes in a rather clumsy fashion.
This issue is likely to be discussed during the drivers’ briefing with the FIA during the next race weekend at the Russian Grand Prix at the end of September.
The question now is whether a Formula 1 driver should only do what he is paid to do [drive and represent his team] or whether by virtue of his status a driver can or should carry a message that can be considered political.
Certainly, the FIA are perhaps growing tired of the Hamilton politics and agenda, hence this investigation. The organisation, no matter how much they value Hamilton as a poster boy for Formula 1, cannot allow any drivers to highjack the sport for their own political agenda.