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F1 drivers take a knee before Austrian GP

Last Updated: 05/07/20 2:17pm








26:57


The Sky Sports F1 team discuss diversity and inclusion in the sport and how it can be improved. Show features interviews with Lewis Hamilton and Chase Carey.

The Sky Sports F1 team discuss diversity and inclusion in the sport and how it can be improved. Show features interviews with Lewis Hamilton and Chase Carey.

Formula 1 drivers came together to show their support for the fight against racism ahead of Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP.

All 20 drivers wore ‘End Racism’ t-shirts and gathered at the front of the grid before the national anthem, with 14 of them following the lead of other sport’s people, including Premier League players, by taking a knee.

Lewis Hamilton has been a powerful and leading voice on the topic of diversity and equality and the six-time world champion’s t-shirt also featured the ‘Black Lives Matter’ message.

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, which comprises all 20 drivers, said drivers would be free to express their support in their own way before the race.

Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz, Daniil Kvyat, Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi were the drivers who didn’t take a knee.

Leclerc and Verstappen explained their stance, while also emphasising their support for anti-racism:

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.

— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 5, 2020

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.

— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 5, 2020

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

— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 5, 2020

The ‘End Racism’ messaging has been prominent around the Red Bull Ring, while teams have been carrying messages of support on their cars, and drivers on their crash helmets.

How can F1 improve diversity?

On Sunday, the FIA announced it had donated €1m (£900,756) to F1’s new foundation aimed at improving diversity in the sport. Chase Carey, F1’s chairman, has already personally donated $1m (£801,029) to the new project, which is part of the sport’s extensive We Race As One campaign.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Carey said: “We last year came out with two primary social initiatives. Sustainability, the environmental issue, and diversity.

“How do you provide educational opportunities to those who don’t have the same opportunities many do? And how do you provide opportunities?

26:57 The Sky Sports F1 team discuss diversity and inclusion in the sport and how it can be improved. Show features interviews with Lewis Hamilton and Chase Carey.

The Sky Sports F1 team discuss diversity and inclusion in the sport and how it can be improved. Show features interviews with Lewis Hamilton and Chase Carey.

“It’s education and jobs. So we’ve announced this taskforce and with the taskforce [the aim is] to try and provide opportunities. We do think education and opportunity is at the core.”

Hamilton, meanwhile, has revealed plans to launch a research project in his own name to improve inclusion in the motorsport industry. He believes F1 as a whole can unite to drive change.

“When you walk into the paddock of Formula 1 there might be one or two other people of colour in this whole paddock, in all the teams,” he told Sky F1’s Martin Brundle. “This is nothing new for me: this has been the case the way it has been since I got to Formula 1, since I started karting.

12:54 Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton speaks at length to Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle about diversity within society and sport.

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton speaks at length to Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle about diversity within society and sport.

“It’s been something I’ve been talking to Toto [Wolff] about, really trying to improve diversity within our team and it’s great that he has been so open to listening and not kind of fighting back, because a lot of people do take offence to it or feel like you’re being targeted.

“But it’s not about that, it’s about working together, moving forwards, being understanding and trying to improve.”

Calling on all areas of the sport to do more, Hamilton added that “there’s so many opportunities out there and we need to make it more open and more accessible”.While F1 chairman

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