Formula 1 drivers have come together to show their support for the ongoing fight against racism ahead of today’s [July 5] season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
All 20 drivers wore End Racism t-shirts, while gathering at the front of the grid before the national anthem and 14 drivers proceeded to show their support of the Black Lives Matter movement by taking a knee.
Lewis Hamilton was amongst the 14 drivers that participated in the gesture and he has been a leading voice on the topic of diversity and equality, with the star wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt at the Austrian GP.
Six drivers – Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi – however, did not take a knee. Charles and Max went on to explain on Twitter why they didn’t, with both insisting their support for the anti-racism movement.
Charles said, “All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, supporting Formula 1’s and FIA’s commitment. I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries. I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.”
Meanwhile, Max added, “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism.”
Formula 1 fans took to Twitter to call out the sportsmen who did not take a knee, with some even labelling them “confusing” and branded their actions “contradictory”.