McLaren driver Lando Norris expects Formula One’s governing body to U-turn on ‘political statements’ ban
McLaren driver Lando Norris expects Formula One’s governing body to U-turn on its “political statements” ban, according to Reuters.
Reuters reports that Norris made the comments at the McLaren 2023 car launch at the company headquarters in Woking, England, on Monday.
“I feel like there has been quite a bit of pressure and enough said to maybe make a little bit of a U-turn,” the 23-year-old reportedly said.
“We are not in a school, we shouldn’t have to ask about everything and say: ‘Can we do this, can we do that?’ I think we are grown up enough to try and make smart decisions. Maybe, sometimes, people make silly decisions but that happens in life. I think enough drivers have said things now to push back a little bit.”
In December 2022, the FIA – motorsport’s governing body – updated its International Sporting Code, banning the display of political, religious and personal statements unless previously approved in writing.
F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali told The Guardian last week: “F1 will never put a gag on anyone. Everyone wants to talk so to have the platform to say what they want in the right way, the better it is. We have a huge opportunity because of the position of our sport which is more and more global, multicultural and multivalued.”
According to The Guardian, Domenicali also said he believed “the FIA did share F1’s position that drivers should be allowed to speak out and that the governing body would make its standpoint clearer in the near future.”
Human rights group Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) has previously accused the FIA of “suppressing drivers’ freedom of speech” through the ban.
CNN has reached out to the FIA for comment and did not immediately receive a response. When asked for comment, F1 directed CNN to the FIA.
In January, an FIA spokesperson told CNN the rules had been “updated in alignment with the political neutrality of sport as a universal fundamental ethical principle of the Olympic Movement, enshrined in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Code of Ethics.”
The first race of the new F1 season will be the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5.