Hamilton defiant on FIA free speech ban: “Nothing will stop me speaking out”

Lewis Hamilton says the FIA’s new restrictions to curb free speech for F1 drivers will not stop him from speaking out on issues. 
Hamilton defiant on FIA free speech ban: “Nothing will stop me speaking out”

The FIA made revisions to the International Sporting Code over the winter with a new rule which prohibits drivers from making “personal, religious and political statements” without written consent. 

The apparent clampdown on free speech has been met with criticism from several drivers including reigning world champion Max Verstappen, Alex Albon and Lando Norris, and the FIA is facing calls to make a U-turn with their stance. 

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Seven-time world champion Hamilton, who has been one of F1’s most outspoken drivers in recent years, is seen as the direct target of the new regulation which has been described as an attempt to ‘muzzle’ him. 

Speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ 2023 F1 car on Wednesday, Hamilton said the rule came as no surprise, but vowed he would continue to speak out on issues he cares about. 

“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hamilton said. 

“But nothing will stop me from speaking on the things that I’m passionate about, and on issues that there are.

“The sport does have a responsibility still to speak out, to create awareness on important topics, particularly as we travel to all these different places.

“So nothing changes for me.”

Asked if he would be prepared to accept any penalty the FIA may threaten him with, Hamilton replied: “I think It would be silly to say that I would want to get penalty points for speaking out on things. 

“But as I said, I am still going to be speaking my mind. We still have this platform and there are still a lot of things we need to tackle."

Hamilton also praised the support from F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali who insisted the series will not “put a gag” on drivers. 

“The support from Stefano has been amazing and I think all of the drivers have been very much aligned on freedom of speech," he added. 

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