Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc has responded to accusations of racism that he says have been directed towards him on social media.

Leclerc is one of several drivers who has opted against ‘taking a knee’ at the opening four rounds of the delayed 2020 season during F1’s anti-racism demonstrations held prior to races.

And the Monegasque has revealed he has received criticism for his actions and subsequently been made out to “sound like a racist”. Leclerc stressed he supports F1’s anti-racism stand, saying “racism is disgusting”.

“It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines making me sound like a racist,” Leclerc said on Twitter. “I am not racist and I absolutely hate racism. Racism is disgusting.

“Stop putting me in the same group as these disgusting people that are discriminating others because of their skin colour, religion or gender. I’m not part of them and I never will. I’ve always been respectful to everyone and that should be the standard in today’s world.

“And to whoever is using my image to promote their wrong ideas, please stop. I’m not into politics and I don’t want to be involved in that.”

Speaking in Thursday’s FIA press conference ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, Leclerc explained his tweet, adding: "I just don’t want to be judged anymore.

“As I’ve said many times I’m active on social media and I don’t accept to be called the way I’ve been called in the last few weeks negatively obviously just because of not kneeling.

“I wanted to make a straightforward tweet just to express my feelings and that’s it.”