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The controversy over the FIA's censorship of drivers

Written by Mar Martínez, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Credit: Lars Baron

The CEO of Formula 1 made it clear that he does not want to restrict the freedoms of his drivers, and firmly believes in the FIA ​​regulations having to change, to solve this problem. Stefano Domenicali has commented on the situation after the FIA's controversial crackdown on drivers when they say what the body does not want to hear. This new rule has entered into force in 2023, making clear that it will not be possible to make political or religious comments without prior approval from the FIA ​​itself.

There haven’t been many who have been able to speak up about the situation, but Alexander Albon was among them, during Williams’ launch event earlier. During Red Bull’s launch event, Max Verstappen also made his feelings clear, of the FIA letting the drivers “speak clearly”. Later, Valtteri Bottas also made clear his disagreement for the new rule.

"Or I don't think it's necessary to put in the regulation, that you're not allowed to say or support whatever you want."

In an interview with famous newspaper, The Guardian, Stefano Domenicali appears to distance himself from the FIA's decision, insisting that the Formula 1 organization itself had a more liberal view.

"F1 will never gag anyone," said the Italian. "Everybody wants to talk, so having the platform to say what they want in the right way is the best. We have a great opportunity because of the position of our sport, which is increasingly global, multicultural and multivalued."

"We are talking about 20 drivers, 10 teams, and many sponsors, who have different ideas and points of view. I can't say that one is right and the other is wrong, but it is right, if necessary, to give them a platform to discuss their opinions in an open way".

"We will not change that approach as a sport. That should be the line of our category, to give everyone the opportunity to speak in the right way, not in aggressive tones or to offend, but with respect."

Domenicali also said he has been in frequent contact with the drivers on the matter. He knows what everyone thinks of the topic.

"I had a talk with the drivers about it last year," he said. "About how F1 could be a platform, to have a spotlight on certain things that we think it's right to talk about. F1 should help drivers if they want to talk about certain issues."

"It's important to have a constructive dialogue. If you don't, you can create confusion or problems where there shouldn't be any."

"We are closely monitoring the situation. We are keeping the drivers informed and we are meeting with the GPDA to talk about it. To see how we can allow the drivers to be open as human beings in our sport."


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