Wave of US politics rolls over Formula 1

JUNE 2, 2020

Wave of US politics rolls over Formula 1

A wave of politics is rolling over Formula 1 amid widespread protests and rioting throughout America.

Although the world championship is British and European based, six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton began the new trend among F1 drivers, personalities and teams by hitting out at those "staying silent" after a death in custody in Minnesota.

Hamilton's fellow drivers duly complied, with L'Equipe correspondent Frederic Ferret surmising that his "powerful and vigorous" words about the "white-dominated sport" have been "quick to take effect".

"To be completely honest, I felt out of place and uncomfortable sharing my thoughts on social media about the whole situation and this is why I haven't expressed myself earlier than today," said Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

"And I was completely wrong," the 22-year-old added.

Hamilton's employer, the works Mercedes team, posted on social media: "We stand with you, Lewis.

"Tolerance is an elementary principle of our team and we are enriched by diversity in all its forms."

McLaren's Lando Norris said: "I have power through this to lead and inspire so many. This time I ask you to do something and take action."

Daniel Ricciardo, an Australian driver who currently drives for Renault, commented: "What happened to George Floyd and what continues to happen in today's society is a disgrace.

"We need to stand up, we need to be a WE. Let's be better people. It's 2020 ffs. Black lives matter."

Indian former F1 driver Karun Chandhok continued: "As part of the minority of non-white people in motorsport, I'm lucky that I've never felt any negativity.

"Others like George Floyd were not so lucky and society worldwide needs to change," he said, adding the 'BlackLivesMatter' hashtag.

Williams driver George Russell, 22, said: "We all have a voice to speak up for what's right ñ and until now I didn't know how to use mine in this situation.

"To echo Charles Leclerc's words, I just felt out of place sharing my thoughts on these atrocities publicly. But ultimately, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to speak out, silence achieves nothing," he wrote.

"Use your voice, spread awareness as far as you can. We're all responsible for ending the injustice."

And 24-year-old Alex Albon, a British-born Thai driver, joined Leclerc and Russell in admitting that speaking out publicly on the topic is difficult.

"Truthfully I have been quite hesitant having a voice around George Floyd's death. I grew up in a very privileged way, shielded from racism," said the Red Bull driver.

"It's never too late to change and to address what's wrong, this is about justice and to stand up for racial equality."

(GMM)

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