Lando Norris says he hopes that the FIA will consider a U-turn on its divisive clampdown on drivers projecting political and personal statements.
Several competitors have spoken out against the new rule, which was included in the latest version of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.
The FIA has outlined that unapproved political, personal or religious statements are prohibited across its motorsport disciplines, but Norris says that he hopes public pressure will force the governing body to change its mind.
“I don’t know 100 per cent what the ruling is and how everything is going to happen, but I feel like there’s been quite a lot of pressure and enough said to maybe make a little bit of a U-turn,” he said.
“F1 have made things clear with what they think is acceptable and what they think we should be able to do as drivers, and I guess that’s what I stand by. I think we should be able to say what we want and what we believe in.
“I don’t know the penalties or exactly how strict it will be. We’re not in a school. We shouldn’t have to ask about everything and say ‘can we do this, can we do that?’ I think we’re grown up enough to try and make smart decisions.
“Maybe sometimes people make silly decisions, but that happens in life. I think there are enough drivers to have said things now to push back a little bit.”
In previous years, drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and the now-retired Sebastian Vettel used their F1 platform to broadcast matters close to them.
Reigning F1 World Champion Max Verstappen labelled the intervention from the FIA as “unnecessary”, while Williams’ Alexander Albon asserted that the drivers need more clarification on the matter.
They weren’t the only ones to question the rule, with Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas also expressing an opposition.
“I think it’s still very important that it’s clear as drivers we can still voice our opinions,” Norris added.
“I don’t think F1 should go in a direction with rules or the direction of limiting what we can do or say and influence us drivers because we are only wanting to do things for the best.
“We don’t want to use it in any wrongdoing way. We are doing it because we have a lot of fans, millions of fans, millions of viewers, who we want to influence, guide and use to help, or to help them personally.
“We should have freedom of speech. We should be able to say and do we what we want – that’s what defines people, this is what creates us, what makes us humans.
“There always needs to be good reasoning to do so. It’s better when as a community, as F1, we come forward as a group.”
McLaren CEO Zak Brown stated last year that at times, driver activism got “out of control”.
But Norris says that F1 risks its drivers becoming “robots” if they aren’t allowed to speak their minds.
“We give statements and so on, the drivers and ourselves should be able to have our own say in anything at the same time.
“As long as we have freedom of speech I think that’s something that F1 are supporting then I am happy.
“If things start to get blocked off and we can’t even talk and say anything then no one is going to want to do media because you just can’t say anything.
“Everything is going to turn into a robot and say the same things over and over again. We need it.
“We’re just trying to help people in the world, give advice and so on. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do that.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali asserted that the sport does not want to “gag” drivers with the ban.
Leave a Reply