Formula One’s ruling body is considering action against world champion Lewis Hamilton after he wore a T-shirt highlighting police brutality at Sunday’s Tuscan Grand Prix.
The six-time world champion and series leader, who won the race, wore a T-shirt bearing a message that said “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” before and after the race, during an anti-racism ceremony and television interviews.
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A spokesman for the International Motoring Federation (FIA) told the BBC the case against Hamilton is “under active consideration”.
Hamilton had previously worn a “Black Lives Matter” T-shirt at every race without any comment from the FIA.
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot by police in Kentucky in March. She was a medical worker and was killed in her own home.
The FIA rules state that drivers are not to use advertising that is “political or religious in nature of that is prejudicial to the interests of the FIA”.
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, the US Open champion, also brought Taylor’s death to public attention when she wore a face mask with her name on it at the New York tournament.
“It took me a long time to get that shirt and I’ve been wanting to wear it and bring awareness to the fact that there’s people that have been killed on the street and there’s someone that got killed in her own house, and they’re in the wrong house, and those guys are still walking free,” said Hamilton after his 90th career victory on Sunday.
“We can’t rest. We have to continue to raise awareness with it. And Naomi’s been doing amazing, so huge congratulations to her. She is an incredible inspiration with what she has done with her platform.”
F1 CHIEF SLAMS HAMILTON FOR EXPLOSIVE COMMENT
Meantime, Formula One race boss Michael Masi said he was personally offended by Hamilton’s criticism after the crash-hit Tuscan GP.
World champion Hamilton accused the FIA of putting drivers’ lives at risk in the interests of spicing up the on-track action.
Hamilton blasted the delay in telling drivers the race was resuming after the safety car period, resulting in his teammate Valtteri Bottas bunching up the field.
The result was a concertina effect that saw a huge smash involving four cars with Hamilton saying after “they’re obviously trying to make it more exciting but ultimately you’ve seen they’ve put people at risk”.
But Masi hit back saying he sees the Brit’s remarks as a personal attack because his priority is the drivers’ safety.
“From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount, full stop. End of story,” he said.
“In my capacity as the race director and safety delegate, point blank, that’s where my role sits as the sporting integrity and safety. And anyone that says otherwise is actually quite offensive.”
One of the accusations was the timing of when the lights of the safety car went out, meaning there was little time to prepare for a short dash into turn one at full speed.
But Masi points out that unlike the F1 stars, the drivers in the junior categories had no problem with their restarts.
“They can criticise all they want. If we have a look at a distance from where the lights were extinguished to the control line, (it’s) probably not dissimilar, if not longer, than at a number of other venues,” he said.
“At the end of the day, the safety car lights go out where they do, the safety car is in the pit lane.
“We have the 20 best drivers in the world but drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race and they navigated it quite well without incident.”
— AFP, The Sun