Lewis Hamilton: FIA rule ‘doesn’t surprise’ me but ‘nothing will stop’ me from speaking out

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton at press conference. Austin, Texas, October 2022

Seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton at press conference. Austin, Texas, October 2022

Lewis Hamilton has said he is prepared to accept whatever action the FIA may threaten in order to speak out on issues he believes in.

The FIA ruffled the feathers of the drivers when they announced late last year that all political and religious statements from drivers would be banned and if any driver wanted to display a message, they would need permission from the sport’s governing body to do so.

The move has been widely criticised by the drivers with Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris, Kevin Magnussen and many more speaking out against it.

Even Formula 1 itself announced that they would not be following the FIA’s lead with president Stefano Domenicali stating that they would not “gag” anyone. However, the rule, for now, remains in place.

The timing of the regulation change seems particularly pointed considering that one of the two most vocal drivers on the grid, Sebastian Vettel, retired at the end of 2022.

The other most vocal driver is Hamilton and he said was not surprised about the FIA’s move but that “nothing will stop” him from standing up for what he believes in.

“I wasn’t really watching the news over the winter, but I heard it,” Hamilton told media including PlanetF1.com. “It doesn’t surprise me.

“But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I feel that I’m passionate about and issues that there are.

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“I feel the sport does have a responsibility to speak out on things to create awareness and on important topics, particularly as we’re travelling to all these different places. So nothing changes.”

It is not the first time that an FIA move seems targeted towards Hamilton with the sport’s governing body, under new leadership in the form of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, choosing to strictly enforce a rule prohibiting drivers from wearing jewellery in the car last year.

Despite the likes of Magnussen saying he would continue to wear his wedding ring, the FIA focused on Hamilton and threatened race bans before eventually backing down.

Should the governing body again threaten such action, Hamilton reiterated he would be willing to accept the consequences.

“I think it would be silly to say that I would want to take extra penalty points for speaking out and things but as I said to you, I’m still going to be speaking my mind.

“We still have this platform, there’s still a lot of things that we need to tackle. But the support of Stefano, I think has been amazing. I think all the drivers have been very much aligned on freedom of speech.”