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FIA receives critical letter from human rights organisation

FIA receives critical letter from human rights organisation

24 January - 14:20 Last update: 15:59


The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has accused the FIA of suppressing drivers' freedom of expression. The BBC has obtained a letter to the FIA in which BIRD addresses the organisation critically.

A new rule goes into effect this year in which the FIA prohibits drivers from making political statements without explicit permission from the FIA. Several drivers in recent years have used their fame to draw attention to political issues during race weekends. Sebastian Vettel, for example, has regularly called attention to gay rights and climate issues, and Hamilton has often voiced his support for Black Lives Matters. Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton have also noted that Formula 1 regularly races in countries with problematic views on human rights.

BIRD accuses FIA of hypocrisy

These expressions would no longer be possible from this year. According to BIRD, this is a hypocritical attitude on the part of the FIA. "Hamilton has used his platform to express support for human rights in countries with problematic human rights records, including Bahrain and Saudi Arabia," the letter reads. "Throughout his career, none of the statements Hamilton has made can be considered any more political than the decision by the FIA to withdraw from racing in Russia in the last season due to its invasion of Ukraine. In your own statement last year, you condemned the Russian invasion and expressed 'sadness and shock' for victims in Ukraine. While I applaud this statement, it is clearly a political one."

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