With the explanatory note provided yesterday to drivers and teams and made available to the public yesterday afternoon, the FIA clarified what can and cannot be done in theexpression of personal, political or religious opinions on race weekends managed by the Federation itself.
The behavior of the pilots who will provide inappropriate comments on these macro areas will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis by the drivers steward, exactly like a maneuver on the track during a race weekend. What do Lewis Hamilton or Lando Norris (two drivers who have publicly promised battle against the gag imposed by the Federation) risk if they don’t respect the FIA’s crackdown?
In case of violation of the new article 12.2.1.n del Sports code international, pilots may incur one of the sanctions provided for in article 12.4.1 of the same Code. The case study provides for 15 different punishments: of these, 11 are sporting. Here they are in detail:
- admonition (warning)
- Obligation to carry out an activity in the public interest
- Cancellation of a driver’s race, qualifying and practice times
- Loss of one or more positions on the starting grid
- Starting from the pit lane
- Time penalty
- Penalty rounds
- Loss of ranking positions
- Stop&go or stop&go with the obligation to remain stationary for a specific period of time
By and large, pilots have their hands pretty tied. They cannot express political opinions or send social messages unless they ask the FIA for permission in writing at least four weeks before the scheduled event. In short, there is no way to comment on political current affairs or to react to certain news events (as happened for example with the kneeling after the murder of George Floyd). Or rather, there is one way: by answering a direct question from accredited journalists. It remains to be seen if and how the media will adapt to the modification of the sporting code.
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