It is common knowledge what happened in the 2022 FIFA world cup in Qatar. The fact that Qatar was chosen of all places to be the host was very mysterious. Qatar had a long history of exploiting laborers, and many construction workers died building the world cup venues.
Despite all that, FIFA had no problem choosing Qatar as the Host country and potentially giving their economy a massive boost. However, when footballers wanted to wear anything remotely symbolic, FIFA warned against it.
Just like FIFA, this month, FIA put on a new regulation that all drivers have to ask for permission before making any “political statement.” FIA has long been criticized for being dominated by white men. It is not a false claim, though. Looking at 2023, twenty F1 drivers, 90 percent of them are white.
Lewis Hamilton is often synonymous with activism in F1. He stood up for social causes important to him like the black lives matter movement and climate change. He was called a racial slur by F1 legend Nelson Piquet this year.
Needless to say, F1 is one of the most famous and watched shows on earth. Drivers who want to promote equality and social justice causes using their platform should not be shunned.
It is a worrying path FIA is going down that looks a lot like FIFA. The age-old idea that sports should be separate from politics comes into view again. The problem with this idea is that often times it’s not political issues but rather social justice issues that drivers are trying to emphasize.
For example, the death of Breonna Taylor and how Lewis Hamilton simply wore a shirt demanding justice for her giving voice to an oppressed section of society. The fact that a driver has to ask permission to do this and possibly get a ban is infuriating.
Sebastian Vettel, another activist in F1 has retired this year stating environmental concerns. At the same time, McLarens Lando Norris expressed that he wants to step out and use his voice to focus on mental health issues.
The last thing motorsports fans want is FIA following FIFA, a severely corrupt institution run by a few old white men.