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25 Jan 2023

Andrew Benson, BBC

Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy criticises F1 over rule reportedly banning drivers from making political statements; incl. co. comments

The Bahrain International Circuit under floodlights during the 2014 Formula 1 Grand Prix.

"FIA accused of 'suppressing drivers' freedom of speech,'" 24 Jan 2023

The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (Bird) has questioned the FIA's commitment to human rights.

Bird says the new rule stops "drivers from making their voice heard on issues including human rights and racism".

The group has suggested the rule "appears to be a reaction" to Lewis Hamilton raising such concerns.

Bird director Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei makes the comments in a letter seen by BBC Sport that refers to a new rule added to the FIA's sporting code this year that forbids "the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA"...

The FIA has been contacted for comment. A spokesperson has previously said the new rule is intended to codify an existing arrangement.

It is said to be directed at the wearing of clothing bearing campaigning statements on the podium or before the race - such as those Hamilton wore during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement following the murder of George Floyd by US police in 2020 - rather than general comments in support of progress on human rights.