F1 drivers have shared their thoughts on the FIA gag being placed on the drivers ahead of the 2023 season before it was clarified.

The winter of the year 2022 started with the FIA putting up an amendment under Article 12 of International Sporting Code which put brakes on what the drivers or teams could speak during race weekends. It was more on the side of a gag on them.

This led to drivers speaking up against it and wanting more clarification considering they didn’t wished to be tied down. Several of them voiced their opinion against it which included the GPDA director and Mercedes F1 driver George Russell.

Amid the F1 driver opinions, the FIA published a list of guideline regarding the gag on drivers speaking out on certain topics, with the focal one being the political issues. The expanded on what can be done and what not with certain side of permission involved.

Here’s what the FIA said: https://formularapida.net/fia-publishes-guideline-to-explain-driver-team-gag-during-f1-races/

Here’s what the F1 drivers said –

Lewis Hamilton: “These issues are still so important to be spoken about.  I think we’ve come a long way. I think we’ve seen great progress, but there’s more to do and we are still going to places where there are still issues and I know there is work being done in those places too and these things can take time. I’m going to continue to be me and continue to fight for things that I am passionate about. I wouldn’t let anybody stop me from doing that.  It doesn’t surprise me”.

”But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I feel that I’m passionate about and issues that there are. I think it would be silly to say that I would want to take extra penalty points for speaking out on things.  But I’m still going to be speaking my mind and because we still have this platform, there’s still a lot of things that we need to tackle. “The support of Stefano I think has been amazing and I think all the drivers have been very much aligned on freedom of speech.”

George Russell: “I’m not too sure why they have taken a stance like this. I think it’s totally unnecessary in the sport and in the world we live at the moment. Naturally we are seeking clarification and I trust it will be resolved. I’d like to think it’s been some kind of misunderstanding but I’m not too sure. We’re not going to limit our views or our thoughts because of some silly regulation. We’re all here to have free speech and share whatever views we may have.”

Alexander Albon: “I think more than anything it’s a bit of confusion. Last year we were focused on the We Race As One initiative and I think we were doing a good job addressing certain issues around the world. We’re using our profiles in the right way. We were maybe going to some circuits that were slightly controversial, but we were handling it by addressing topics in these places that we felt needed awareness. It seems like we’ve slightly gone back on that now. There is most probably a different view between the drivers, FIA – but even also F1. We need to understand and have a talk about it.”

Max Verstappen: ”I think firstly, you know, everyone’s different, some people are more outspoken than others. I’m normally not that outspoken on that, because first of all, it’s tough as a racing driver to be fully committed to that as well in terms of going into everything and making sure that you know all the facts right. But I don’t think it is necessary, because, in a way, you’re basically making sure that people aren’t allowed to speak anymore, which I think we should be allowed to. And of course, like I said before, some people will speak a bit more, some not, but it was probably a bit unnecessary.”

Lando Norris: “I feel like there has been quite a bit of pressure and enough said for there to be a U-turn. F1 have made things clear as to what is acceptable and what we should be able to do and I stand by the fact that we should be able to say what we want and what we believe in. We are not in a school and we shouldn’t have to ask about everything, and say, ‘can we do this?’ and ‘can we do that?’ We are grown up enough to make smart decisions. Enough drivers have said things now to push back I don’t know what the penalty is, if it’s a fine I am probably happy to break it. If it’s a bit more then maybe not but it depends. At certain times there are things you are going to want to say which maybe they won’t allow but I think that will only be a positive thing for whatever that circumstance is.”

Sergio Perez: “We haven’t discussed it with the GPDA but it’s something that we don’t feel comfortable with because we want to be ourselves and we want to be able to express ourselves in any way that we want. We all have different views, different beliefs in religion, I get the political side but we all should be free to express ourselves the way we want. I just struggle to think that they will be able to control what you are able to say or not to say. That to me is not correct. But we will discuss that.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I think Formula 1 has done a good job in drawing attention to some of these kinds of issues and many drivers have raised their voices, including Sebastian. I don’t understand why they want to control us. I think we should have the right to talk about what we want. That’s how I see it, but we’ll see what happens. I think everybody should be allowed to say what they want and do more things that they want or have passion for”.

”People in this world should be free to say what they want. In a way, I don’t see the need for that kind of thing to be in the rules but if you take it politically, let’s say from F1’s side or the organiser’s side of a race, they want everything to go smoothly. But normally when we’ve been speaking it’s to try and make the world a better place. That’s my view. I don’t think it’s necessary… but that’s Formula 1.”

Zhou Guanyu: ”I am not too much into politics but I don’t think it is the right way to do it. We are human so we can say the stuff we want to but we are not against anyone. We are just saying the truth or trying to be the real person inside and out, so I think we should have the right to say what we want.”

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