Formula One drivers banned from making political statements

Lewis Hamilton wore a t-shirt which said "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" after winning the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix. Mario Renzi - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Formula One drivers will no longer be allowed to make political statements at race events without prior permission from the FIA.

Motor racing's governing body has added a new article to its International Sporting Code that outlaws "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," unless permission is given beforehand.

In recent years, drivers have taken the opportunity to make statements before and after races.

Since the start of the 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton has often worn T-shirts carrying political slogans or messages. After winning the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix, he wore a T-shirt saying "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" on the front and "Say her name" on the back.

Hamilton's decision to wear the shirt on the podium prompted the FIA to tweak its postrace procedures, with drivers now allowed to wear only race suits closed up to the neck during that time.

Sebastian Vettel was reprimanded for wearing a T-shirt with Pride colours and the phrase "Same Love" ahead of last year's Hungarian Grand Prix. He and Hamilton have also worn Pride colours on T-shirts and helmets at race events in the Middle East.

Vettel also wore numerous T-shirts promoting environmental causes.

At the Canadian Grand Prix he wore a shirt saying: "Stop mining tar sands -- Canada's climate crime."

"The ISC has been updated in alignment with the political neutrality of sport as a universal fundamental ethical principle of the Olympic Movement, enshrined in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Code of Ethics, together with the principle of the universality set out in Article 1.2," the FIA said in a statement.

"Additionally as stated in Article 1.2 of the FIA Statutes, the FIA shall promote the protection of human rights and human dignity, and refrain from manifesting discrimination on account of race, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation or disability in the course of its activities and from taking any action in this respect.

"The FIA will focus on underrepresented groups in order to achieve a more balanced representation of gender and race and to create a more diverse and inclusive culture."