Lewis Hamilton has joined the rest of the Formula 1 grid in speaking out against a rule limiting drivers’ ability to express themselves.
The sport’s governing body, the FIA, created headlines when it issued a new sporting directive saying any statements or messages that ‘violate neutrality’ would need prior approval.
Specifying ‘political, religious and personal statements’, the news would particularly affect seven-time champion Hamilton who regularly supports good causes, whether that be with t-shirts, helmet designs or statements to the press and social media.
A number of drivers have already spoken out against the change, while FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced he would be stepping away from the ‘day-to-day’ running of F1 shortly after.
Speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ W14 car, Hamilton was asked about the news, and answered comprehensively.
“Nothing will stop me from speaking on the things I am passionate about and the issues that there are,” he said.
“I feel the sport does have a responsibility still, always to speak out on things, to create awareness on important topics particularly as we are travelling to all these different places. So nothing changes for me.
“It would be silly to say I would want to get penalty points for speaking out on things but I am still going to be speaking my mind.
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“We still have this platform, there are still a lot of things we need to tackle. The support of Stefano [Domenicalli, F1 CEO] has been amazing and all the drivers have been very much aligned on freedom of speech.”
He added: “100 per cent [I will continue], these issues are still so important to be spoken about.
“I think we’ve seen over the past couple of years how great it has been to bring about awareness to things, spark conversations, hold organisations and people accountable in order for us to move forward.
“I think we’ve come a long way, we’ve seen great progress but there’s more to do, we’re still going to places where there’s still issues.
“I know there’s work being done, and it’s going to take time, but I’m going to continue being me and continue to fight for things I’m passionate about.
“I will never let anyone stop me from doing that, so what will be will be and I will show up the way I always do.”
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