Lewis Hamilton finds it strange that the drivers in Formula 1 are given less room to express themselves on social issues. The Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled for next weekend. The race is being held in a country that is under considerable pressure to improve human rights. Despite this, Hamilton does not feel that Formula 1 has achieved anything in Bahrain, despite coming to the Bahrain International Circuit for years.
Hamilton has been speaking out about human rights in some countries for years now. The Mercedes driver wonders whether his words have been heard. “I can’t say if it’s gotten worse in Bahrain, but I’m also not sure if it’s gotten better as we’ve been getting there for years,” Hamilton told ESPN. ‘Personally, it’s only in the later years that I’ve come to understand more and more about the challenges of the people here in Bahrain, and also in Saudi Arabia. I was there for the first time in 2021, but of course I read about some of the problems there.”
Some drivers themselves choose not to speak out and to focus fully on the sport. Hamilton has no choice but to express himself. “I’ve always felt we have a responsibility, and if a sport goes to these countries, we have an obligation to raise awareness and leave a positive impact in these places. That vision is not always shared within the sport, whether it be teams or people in high positions. But there is no doubt more needs to be done.’
Hamilton does not understand the FIA decision
The FIA has made it more difficult for drivers to speak out on social issues. The governing body first wants to be informed of a political statement and then the FIA must also agree to it. “Of course when you read that in the news, it says 100 percent that we’re going in the wrong direction. It goes against what I try to do with my team, for example, and what I try to do in conversations with stakeholders in our sport,” concludes the seven-time world champion.