The FIA has inserted a new article into the International Sporting Code (ISC) that bans teams and drivers from making certain personal or political statements that aren’t pre-approved.
Multiple drivers have regularly worn t-shirts or special helmet designs carrying messages relating to topics such as the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in certain countries or the global climate crisis. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have been two of the most prominent figures on that front, but the FIA’s latest issue of the ISC highlights steps to limit such stances in future.
In a new article added to the code, the FIA now states that the following will constitute a breach of rules:
“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 for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction.”
Vettel has used his helmets to back social causes in recent years. Glenn Dunbar/MotorsportImages
It also adds that team members can be penalized for not following FIA requests during moments such as the podium ceremony: “Failure to comply with the instructions of the FIA regarding the appointment and participation of persons during official ceremonies at any Competition counting towards a FIA Championship.”
The move comes following the FIFA World Cup in Qatar where soccer’s governing body threatened sporting sanctions against teams if their captains wore rainbow armbands carrying the message ‘One Love’ in an attempt to make the LGBTQ+ community feel included during a competition in a country that outlaws homosexuality.
When Formula 1 raced in Qatar in 2021, Hamilton wore a rainbow helmet, something he has also worn in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.