ADVERTISEMENT

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem clarifies his position after questioning the activism of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel

ADVERTISEMENT

Mohammed Ben Sulayem recently seemed to question the activism of former world champions Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel; the FIA ​​president has tried to clarify his comments ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan GP; watch the F1 season continue all weekend, live on Sky Sports F1 in Baku

Last update: 06/09/22 7:12 pm

ADVERTISEMENT

Craig Slater says Mohammed Ben Sulayem has cleared up controversial comments about activism among F1 drivers

Use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Craig Slater says Mohammed Ben Sulayem has cleared up controversial comments about activism among F1 drivers

Craig Slater says Mohammed Ben Sulayem has cleared up controversial comments about activism among F1 drivers

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has insisted he supports promoting “diversity and inclusion” by Formula 1 drivers, following his controversial comments about the activism of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Former rally driver Ben Sulayem, overseeing his first F1 season as FIA president after being elected in December last year, questioned the merits of Hamilton, fellow former world champion Vettel and Lando Norris using their platforms to discuss issues. not sports. .

In an interview with GrandPrix247 during last month’s Monaco GP, Ben Sulayem described motorsport as “too political”, before highlighting Vettel’s promotion of LGBTQ+ rights, Hamilton’s activism on human rights issues and attempts to Norris of encouraging conversations about mental health, and comparing the trio to former world champions Niki Lauda and Alain Prost, whom he said were “only interested in driving”.

With the drivers set to face the media on Friday before this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, for the first time since Ben Sulayem’s comments were published, the Emiratis took to social media on Thursday in an apparent attempt to clarify your comments.

“As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst for the progress of society,” Ben Sulayem posted on Twitter.

“That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all the promoters and champions for a better future”.

In the interview, which was published on June 3, Ben Sulayem was asked what Formula One should not become.

“Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving,” he said. “Now, Vettel is riding a rainbow bike, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris is addressing mental health. Everyone has a right to think. For me, it’s about deciding if we should impose our beliefs on something about sport all over the world. time”.

Natalie Pinkham and Naomi Schiff comment on the importance of drivers using their voices to speak out after the FIA ​​president made controversial comments about activism among F1 drivers.

Use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Natalie Pinkham and Naomi Schiff comment on the importance of drivers using their voices to speak out after the FIA ​​president made controversial comments about activism among F1 drivers.

Natalie Pinkham and Naomi Schiff comment on the importance of drivers using their voices to speak out after the FIA ​​president made controversial comments about activism among F1 drivers.

“I am from an Arab culture. I am international and Muslim. Do I not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the United Arab Emirates: 16 nationalities! Tell me a federation that has as many nationalities

“Also, there are more than 34 percent women and seven religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I’m proud because it creates credibility and merit.”

“But I go and state my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are problems when it comes to, for example, jewelry, I did not write that.”

‘Unfortunate time for comments’

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater revealed on Thursday that the FIA ​​has insisted its chairman is “in no way” trying to crack down on driver activism.

However, Slater said the timing of Ben Sulayem’s comments was “unfortunate” as several teams, including Hamilton’s Mercedes, currently support the LGBTQ+ community with features on their car livery during Pride Month.

“They seem to have come at an unfortunate time, these comments,” Slater said.

“The FIA ​​has told me that the FIA ​​President in no way wishes to end driver activism.

“They said he was expressing a personal opinion as a regulator of sport. For him, in terms of messaging, sport should come first.”

“But he was also trying to explain that his organization, the one he heads, thinks he’s aligned with these causes to make the sport more diverse, in terms of having a kind of neutrality about ethnicity, a mix of religions.”

Four-time world champion Vettel has insisted the sport must continue to compete in countries with poor records on LGBTQ rights, due to its ability to drive change.

Vettel made his comments in an interview with LGBTQ publication Attitude Magazine, as the German became the first F1 driver to appear as a cover star.

“When it comes to LGBTQ rights, there are some countries that we visit that are tougher than others,” Vettel said. “We could refuse to run there, but what then? If we don’t run, we’d be powerless to make a difference.”

“But by competing in those countries and politely but firmly standing up for what’s important, we can have a positive impact. Values ​​and principles can’t stop at borders.”

sniloans