Formula 1 will step away from its ‘We Race as One’ knee gesture for the upcoming 2022 season.
Written by Hugh Waring, edited by Harshi Vashee
Drivers since the start of the 2020 season have had the opportunity to take a knee during the pre-race ceremony, before the national anthem. It was continued throughout the 2021 season, but now, Formula 1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali has been quoted as saying, “We have to not have to do politics”.
It has been noted that the WRAO (We Race As One) video will still be broadcasted before each race and branding will be used around each venue. Drivers will also be able to continue this gesture in their own time.
Domenicali spoke to Sky F1 stating, “But I think now it's a matter [of moving] from gesture to action [and] now the action is the focus on the diversity of our community. And this is the first step.”
“The gesture has been important for the ones that believed it was an important gesture because we need to respect everyone as always. But now is the time to move on and take some other action.”
Formula 1’s “We Race As One'' initiative was a four-year funded commitment to grow the industry's diversity and inclusivity programme. However, F1’s focus is to resettle its pivot away from simple gestures - some of which had not been taken by some drivers, most notably, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. But to take up a greater emphasis of prioritising action - something that the advocate of Lewis Hamilton had been briefed on such plans.
Some of the notable actions towards these changes have been engineering scholarships for minority groups for the next 4 years, as well as various university scholarships, internships and placements for individuals from BAME backgrounds, an issue that Hamilton had envisioned and pushed for, in an industry that is currently dominated by white males.
Formula 1 has been committed to offering up to 80 fully covered scholarships in engineering degrees in Italy and the UK between 2022 and 2025. It is also working with the Black Collective of Media in Sport to help create internships for minorities studying in a mechanical engineering background.
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