Valtteri Bottas: Statement ban is not ‘necessary’ but ‘this is Formula 1’

Sam Cooper
Valtteri Bottas getting into the car. Mexico City, October 2022.

Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas stares through the open visor of his helmet as he gets into the car. Mexico City, October 2022.

Valtteri Bottas has followed up his previous comments on the FIA ban of driver statements by saying it is not “necessary” to have such a rule in place.

The Alfa Romeo driver became the first within the paddock to speak out against the new FIA regulation which muzzles the drivers from making any kind of statement without the permission of the governing body.

Bottas said he was unsure why the FIA sought to “control” the drivers, a poignant point considering all of the statements made last season by drivers were for worthwhile causes such as climate change, equal rights and support for the LGBTQ+ community.

The Finn has now followed up on these comments by again expressing his disagreement with the rule and stating that he believed everyone has the right to say what they want.

“I think everybody should be allowed to say what they want and support things that they want or have passion [for],” he told Sky Sports. “Because I think people in this world should be free to say what they want and do what they want so I don’t see the need for that kind of thing to be in the rulebook.

“But then you if you think about it politically, let’s say from F1’s side or the organiser’s side of a race, obviously they want everything to go smoothly and not to have somebody with T-shirts saying this and that.”

It was then put to Bottas that the messages that drivers such as his former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel were displaying were solely focused on good causes and the Alfa man said “this is Formula 1.”

“I think everything that we’ve been saying is normally we want to make things good, [to make] the world a better place, stuff like that,” the 33-year-old said.

“That’s my view, I don’t think it [the rule] is necessary but this is Formula 1.”

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Statement ban the start of a rocky road for the FIA and Mohammed Ben Sulayem

The ban on drivers’ statements was just the first in a series of moves made by Mohammed Ben Sulayem that have not gone down well with those inside the paddock.

After the ban, he outwardly supported the Andretti-Cadillac bid before Tweeting directly at F1 over a perceived less than enthusiastic reaction.

Next he angered Liberty Media after he described a reported takeover bid of $20 billion as an “inflated” price tag, prompting the sport’s commercial bosses to send him a letter suggesting he made a major overstep of his duties.

And then finally, a comment attributed to the FIA president resurfaced from an archived version of his personal website in which he did “not like women who think they are smarter than men.” As a result, the FIA came out and said the comments ‘do not reflect” the beliefs of one of the sport’s most senior figures.