FORMULA ONE’S governing body have backed down in their row over banning drivers from making political statements.
The FIA angered F1 drivers by changing the International Sporting Code in December to stop them from making political, religious or personal statements or comments without written authorisation.
The FIA have softened their stance on political statements in a boost to Lewis Hamilton and Co
Like Hamilton, McLaren’s Lando Norris blasted the FIA’s initial move
Lando Norris claimed it made drivers feel like school children while Lewis Hamilton was defiant and said he would continue to make personal protests and comments that were relevant to him.
The growing pressure has now forced the FIA to act and they have backtracked in a note to drivers that has allowed them to continue to make protests – but not at certain times during a race weekend.
An FIA Spokesperson said: “A guidance note has been issued to participants that sets out the scope of the updates made to the FIA International Sporting Code in December.
“The updates cement the FIA’s longstanding commitment to protecting motor sport’s neutrality, and will particularly ensure neutrality during key moments across all motorsport competitions, such as podiums, national anthems and official activities ‘on the field of play’.
“It does not impose any additional restrictions on individuals expressing their views outside of these times.”
The change to the rules now reads that drivers “can express their views on any political, religious or personal matter before, during and after” the race and in “their own space” such as social media.
However, it adds that drivers are not allowed to air their views “during FIA press conferences (except in response to direct questions from accredited journalists) or during events such as the drivers’ parade, national anthem or podium ceremony.
The FIA maintain that by changing the rules they want to ensure the sport remains politically neutral.
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