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Let Hamilton speak out, says Bahrain rights group

26 de Enero de 2023 a las 15:02

Let Hamilton speak out, says Bahrain rights groupPhoto courtesy of Leonhard Foeger, Reuters

Article by Alan Baldwin, Reuters

LONDON. - The London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) urged Formula One's governing body on Tuesday to allow seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton and other drivers to speak freely on 'political' issues.

The governing FIA updated its International Sporting Code last December with a clause requiring prior written permission for drivers to make or display "political, religious and personal statements or comments".

Mercedes' Hamilton, the sport's all-time most successful driver, has used his profile and platform to address human rights abuses and racial injustice around the world.

"This move appears to be a reaction to drivers, in particular Lewis Hamilton, raising their concerns about the locations chosen for F1 races, including the human rights records of host countries and making powerful interventions where your own organisation has been silent," BIRD director Sayed Alwadaei wrote in a letter to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on Tuesday.


The season starts in Bahrain on March 5 after pre-season testing there.

The Middle East has four races this year -- In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

The FIA has said the update is merely aligned with "the political neutrality of sport" but Alwadaei said it appeared to target Hamilton.

"We are saying to Mohammed Ben Sulayem that this policy is wrong, and it must be reversed immediately," he added.