Racing Pride, an LGBTQ+ movement, has criticised the decision to appoint former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov as a steward for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
Racing Pride, which was launched in 2019 in order to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ motorsport community, has followed in the footsteps of reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, who on Thursday also criticised the decision.
It comes after the Russian made a number of comments which were offensive to the Black and LGBTQ+ community.
Hamilton said he was confused by the decision given the sport’s push for greater diversity with its #WeRaceAsOne campaign: “I don’t really understand what their goal is or why particularly he’s here.
“I would say it’s a surprise to see they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs, and is so vocal about things that we’re trying to fight against.”
A statement put out by Racing Pride also questioned why the FIA would appoint someone who’s views go against what they have been fighting for.
“Racing Pride wishes to express its concern at the appointment of Vitaly Petrov as an FIA Driver Steward for this weekend’s Portuguese Grand Prix in light of his recent, widely reported public comments relating to the #WeRaceAsOne initiative, which were both racist and homophobic in nature.
“Not only do these comments display ignorance relating to inclusion in sport, but we also believe that such comments from an FIA official are incompatible with Article 1.2 of the FIA’s Code of Ethics, which states that ‘participants to the FIA activities’ shall not be discriminated against on the basis of factors including ‘race, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin’.
“Racing Pride applauds Formula 1’s recent launch of the #WeRaceAsOne initiative and the position of FIA President Jean Todt, stated in the foreword to the FIA Code of Ethics, that ‘The FIA is a truly diverse and multicultural organisation, and we, the FIA community, must all embrace the same ethical principles’.
“A commitment to inclusion is a fundamental principle of good sporting governance. However, in order to be effective, such a commitment must extend to all involved in the sport, in any capacity.
“It is essential that those who are appointed to positions of authority within the sport, especially, are sensitive to, and educated in, pertinent issues and correct terminology relating to diverse communities.
“Racing Pride would be happy to work with the FIA and Formula 1 in providing such education in relation to the LGBTQ+ community, and indeed has already reached out to Formula 1 directly. We hope to work alongside all organisations and stakeholders within the sport who share our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all.”