Feb.8 (GMM) Formula 1 will not “gag” its race drivers in 2023, the sport’s CEO Stefano Domenicali insists.
In recent days and weeks, drivers and team bosses have been speaking out about controversial FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s new guidelines against political speech and gestures.
“We were supportive of the We Race As One initiative but it looks like they’re moving away from that now,” Williams driver Alex Albon said.
“Clearly we need clarity from the FIA on what they are trying to tell us, because of course we have to be able to speak freely to some extent.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, agrees with Ben Sulayem that F1 shouldn’t be used “as a political tool”, but added: “We certainly don’t want a bunch of robots in the cars with no opinions about anything.”
The issue is highlighting a widening rift between the FIA, the drivers and Liberty Media-owned F1 – but the latter’s CEO Domenicali is playing down the driver “gay”.
“F1 will never put a gag on anyone,” he told the Guardian.
“Everyone wants to talk so to have the platform to say what they want in the right way the better it is. We will not change that approach as a sport.”
The Italian said he will meet with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association about the issue but also push for the FIA to “clarify” its new stance about speech.
“We are talking about a regulation and the regulator is the FIA,” said Domenicali.
“I believe the FIA will clarify what has been stated in terms of respecting certain places where you cannot do it.”