The FIA has cracked down on competitors making “political, religious and personal statements or comments” in its updated rules for motorsports next season.
The governing body’s International Sporting Code (ISC) now deems “the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA” an offence.
The FIA governs Formula One, world rally and endurance world championships.
As of January 1, 2023 any political statements will need to be “previously approved in writing by the FIA”.
However, the sanctions for a breach of the rules were not specified.
In recent years, several high-profile Formula One drivers have used Grand Prix races to openly take a stand for a cause, in particular with messages on their clothing or helmet.
In 2020, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton donned a T-shirt on the podium of the Tuscan Grand Prix with the message “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor”, referring to the fatal shooting of a black woman in her home by American police.
Hamilton’s actions led the FIA to review its protocols for post-race ceremonies.
In 2021, German Sebastian Vettel wore a rainbow T-shirt in support of the LGBTQ community during the Hungarian Grand Prix.
He also wore a helmet with a message protesting against Canada’s oil sands mining at the Canadian Grand Prix.
“The ISC has been updated in accordance with the political neutrality of sport as a fundamental universal ethical principle of the Olympic Movement,” an FIA spokesperson said in a statement.