In a recent interview FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem appeared to blast Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for ‘imposing their beliefs’ on others.
In recent years Formula 1 drivers have started speaking out about social, environmental and other issues more than ever before, and the person who has led the way in this regard is Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton has been very vocal when it comes to issues of diversity, equality, racial justice, and so on, while Sebastian Vettel has been especially vocal in his support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Surprisingly, in an interview with GrandPrix247, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem didn’t seem to be too happy about the drivers speaking out.
“Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving,” Ben Sulayem said.
“Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health.
“Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time.
“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never.
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“If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.
“On top, there are over 34% women and 7 religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit.
“But do I go and pose my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to – for example – jewellery, I didn’t write that.”
After his quotes started being reported and criticised all across the F1 media, Ben Sulayem issued a statement on his social media channels:
“As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society.
“That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate.
“In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future,” Ben Sulayem concluded.