Express views in your own space: FIA clarifies freedom of speech rule after driver backlash

Settling the ongoing debate over ‘freedom of speech’ FIA has confirmed that the drivers will now be allowed to make political and personal statements ‘in their own space’ this season. But they face sanctions if they do so during the track activities such as podium ceremonies and anthems.

Ever since FIA updated the International Sporting Code last December making it mandatory for drivers to take written permissions to make or display ‘political, religious and personal statements or comments.’

The move became highly unpopular among the driver and last week, Lewis Hamilton openly said that he would not be silenced. Meanwhile, F1 chief Stefano Domenicali said that spot would not ‘gag the driver.’

In its fresh circular, FIA underlined that statements will not be permitted without prior permission within the bounds of ‘international competition’ which it defines as on-track action, the podium, driver parade and national ceremonies and it would include visual gestures.’

“Participants can express their views on any political, religious or personal matter before, during and after the international competition, in their own space and outside the scope of the international competition,” FIA statement read.

Meanwhile, the FIA said that drivers could not make political, religious and personal statements during the pre-race parade, anthem and post-race procedures.’

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The apex governing body cited examples like unapproved statements or comments relating to ‘any military conflict or political dispute between nations, regions, religious or communities.’ The drivers would also be allowed to display religious symbols and ornaments.

Notably, the 2023 season starts from March 5. 

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