FIA Stance on Political Shirts Worn by Drivers

by Societal Store on September 21, 2020

Almost every spectator sport this year has seen a spike in the number of political comments made by its competitors, either verbally or via a message on a jersey or some other sort of apparel. With Lewis Hamilton sporting a "ARREST THE COPS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR" shirt at a race, Formula One is no exception. On the back of the T-shirt was a picture of his face and the inscription: “Say her name.”
No FIA penalty for Hamilton over political t-shirtThe FIA has withdrawn its consideration to investigate Lewis Hamilton for wearing a Breonna Taylor t-shirt at the Tuscan GP.

Hamilton stated that he “hoped” the FIA understood the seriousness of the situation involving discrimination against non-white people in society and the lack of diversity in motorsport. Hamilton said any reform would not stop him from using his high-profile position to continue to raise awareness of racism and support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Breonna Taylor was a black American woman who was shot at her home earlier this year by a police officer who had come to look for her during a narcotics investigation. The police were shot at by her partner, Kenneth Walker, claiming they were trespassing, and the police returned fire. Then eight bullets struck Breonna Taylor and she died as a result of her injuries. The officers were working on an erroneous APB for a suspect who was not living in the building anymore and was already in custody.

“Ultimately the world, and the younger generation in particular, are more conscious that things aren’t equal and change is needed” - LEWIS HAMILTON

Now, the FIA, the governing body of Formula One, has issued its own set of guidelines governing, among other items, messages on clothing. Elizabeth Blackstock gives a thorough overview of the rules in an article for Jalopnik, which do not fully preclude political statements but seem intended to maintain more influence over them.

On the day of the Russian Grand Prix, the rules were revealed and required that the top 3 finishers stay on the podium in their driving suits and in the press pool after their race.

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