F1 drivers will no longer be required to take the knee before races next season as the sport commits to other action to continue promoting anti-racism and diversity in F1 and wider society
F1 drivers are set to stop taking the knee before races.
The sport’s bosses have opted to end the gesture before the start of the new season next month.
Led by seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, several drivers took a knee in front of the grid in solidarity with promoting racial equality both in F1 and wider society.
“The [knee] gesture was important for the ones that believed that was an important gesture, because we need to respect everyone,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Sky Sports.
“But now is the time to move on and take some other action. The action is the focus on the diversity of our community, and this is the first step.
“We are committed to increasing diversity and opportunity within this incredible sport.”
In order to carry on their anti-racism message, F1 announced today that it will extend its funding commitment to the Formula One Engineering Scholarship programme for underrepresented groups until 2025.
They will also continue to screen the anti-racism message ahead of every race, as well as F1’s ‘We Race As One’ branding.
It is understood that Hamilton, and others, will still be able to take a knee if they wish, possibly at another stage before the start of the race, perhaps by their cars.
He has been using his platform to promote anti-racism and achieve diversity in his sport, in which he is still the only black driver.
The 37-year-old was the driving force behind Mercedes’ decision to change their car design to black for the last two seasons, although the team appear to be reverting back to the original silver for 2022.
Mercedes will unveil their new model on February 18 and Hamilton is set to be at the car’s launch alongside new teammate George Russell.
The Brit broke his social media silence last week and all but put an end to speculation regarding a potential retirement following his controversial F1 world title defeat last season.
Domenicali commented on the sporting icon’s silence and expects he will be raring to go for the start of the new campaign.
“There was a total respect on his choice to be silent. I think his battery will be fully charged for the start of the season,” he added.
“That is important because Lewis is an incredible asset not only for our sport but for the world.
“Lewis has in front of him a possibility to be an eight-time world champion. So I’m pretty sure he is totally focused on these objectives.”