FIA tightens podium rules after Hamilton’s Breonna Taylor protest

The FIA has banned Formula 1 drivers from wearing anything other than their race suits in post-race podium ceremonies, in the wake of Lewis Hamilton wearing a t-shirt in Mugello protesting the Breonna Taylor killing.

The move comes in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s gesture at the Tuscan GP, where the race winner wore a t-shirt carrying the message “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.”

The message was in support of the black medical technician who was shot and killed by police in Kentucky, and who has become a focal point in anti-racism campaigns.

Hamilton’s gesture led to a review by the FIA of what the guidelines should be for the podium ceremony.

The new protocols were outlined in the Russian GP version of the post-race procedures that are issued by FIA race director Michael Masi every Sunday morning.

For Sochi a newly inserted paragraph reads: “For the duration of the podium ceremony and post-race interview procedure, the drivers finishing in race in positions 1, 2, 3 must remain attired only in their driving suits, ‘done up’ to the neck, not opened to the waist. For the avoidance of doubt this includes a medical face mask or team branded face mask.”

The new directive also applies after the podium ceremony: “For the duration of the TV pen interviews and FIA post-race press conference, all drivers finishing must remain attired in their respective teams’ uniform only.”

Masi also tells the drivers how to greet the VIPs who will be involved in the ceremony at the Russian GP, with podium ceremonies having generally been held without them in 2020.

“One dignitary will present all four trophies. Four other dignitaries will be present on the podium but will not participate in the presentation. If a handshake is offered by the dignitaries, drivers should kindly offer a ‘fist bump’ to acknowledge the gesture.”

In a small change to the pre-race procedures, which already specify that drivers should wear the official anti-racism t-shirt, a line that previously said a gesture could include “anything else a driver may feel comfortable to do” has been deleted.

On Thursday Hamilton said he had yet to discuss the Mugello t-shirt with the FIA, but he anticipated that there would be a ruling.

“This is a learning process for everyone, because people have been happy with the norm here, of how life and society has operated,” he said.

“But ultimately, the world, and the younger generation particularly, is more conscious that things aren’t equal and changes needed. So it does take conversations with people and things like Mugello happening for people to spark a conversation that perhaps would never have taken place if it didn’t happen.

“So I haven’t spoken to them. But I’ve heard that tomorrow they’ll come out with a new ruling of some sort, saying what you can and cannot do. I’ll just try to continue to work with them. Whether or not I agree or disagree is kind of irrelevant. It’s just trying to find a common ground and how we can do it together maybe.

“Do I believe that they truly understand? I don’t know. But perhaps in the future, we all will try to understand.”

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