Hamilton: Nothing will stop me speaking my mind
Lewis Hamilton has said he will continue to speak out on important social issues despite the FIA’s crackdown on political protests ahead of the 2023 F1 season.
In December, the FIA, the sport’s governing body, updated the International Sports Code to include a clause requiring drivers prior written permission to make or display “political, religious and personal statements or comments.”
Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali has said the sport will not allow its drivers to be silenced, but the FIA has the right to impose financial and sporting sanctions if the rules are not followed.
Hamilton has become increasingly vocal about various issues during race weekends, such as when he wore a t-shirt that read “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” before and after the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, and he said no rules would force him to change his approach.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hamilton said of the FIA’s decision at a press conference following the launch of the 2023 Mercedes car. “But nothing will stop me from talking about the things I’m passionate about and the issues that I have.
“Sport still has a responsibility to speak up, to raise awareness on important topics, especially when we travel to all these different places. So nothing changes for me.”
It remains unclear what the penalty will be for protesting without written permission.
McLaren’s Lando Norris predicted that opposition from F1 drivers and Domenicali would lead to a change in decision.
When asked if he would risk a sports penalty to make a political protest or highlight a specific issue without resolution, Hamilton said, “I think it would be silly to say that I would like to be penalized for speaking out about things.”
“But like I said, I will still speak my mind. We still have this platform and we still have a lot of things to solve.
“The support from Stefano has been amazing and I think all the drivers were very much in tune with free speech.”