FIA president Ben Sulayem has said in a recent post to social media that drivers in F1 shouldn’t “impose their beliefs” on the sport. This comes just as F1 begins to celebrate pride month.
F1 has a fair number of drivers who are keen on using their following to bring equality between different communities. Lewis Hamilton has been very vocal about equality and respect for LGBTQ+ people, as has Sebastian Vettel, as well as other topics of thought such as the fight against racism. Lando Norris has been interested in shedding light on mental health just like Toto Wolff did at the start of this F1 season.
But while Sulayem didn’t name these individuals, it looks as though he’s taking a shot at them.
“As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society,” he posted to Twitter.
“That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future.”
But in a different light, he told GrandPrix247 the following:
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“Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving. Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health. Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time.
“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.
“On top, there are over 34% women and 7 religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit.
“But do I go and pose my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to – for example – jewellery, I didn’t write that.”