Hamilton free to ‘take the knee’ for whole campaign
Formula One chiefs will not stop Lewis Hamilton from continuing to “take the knee” at races this season.
Hamilton knelt before the first round in Austria, where he finished fourth in a disappointing start to the season, and subsequently revealed he would carry on performing the gesture if provided with a platform to do so by the sport.
It is understood that F1’s American owners, Liberty Media, and the governing body, the FIA, will inform Britain’s six-time world champion that he is free to kneel at the next instalment of the championship in Austria this weekend and for the remainder of the year.
The final decision is likely to rest with the drivers, who are expected to discuss the divisive subject again here on Friday.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc were among six who elected to stand in the moments before Sunday’s race. Both posted messages saying they were committed to the fight for equality. But it is believed some of the drivers who knelt last weekend could decide to stand on Sunday.
Spanish driver Carlos Sainz was among those who stood. His McLaren boss, the American Zak Brown, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There was unity on the grid. It depends how you view people’s actions. All the drivers were clear they support ending racism. People are entitled to express their views in different ways, so I don’t think one gesture is necessarily how you have to do that.”
Ross Brawn, F1’s managing director, said: “Formula One’s position is clear. Racism has no place in our sport. We want more diversity and inclusion and we are doing everything we can to facilitate that.
“The drivers coming together on the grid was a powerful message, with people free to support this fight in their own way.”
Leading the fight: Lewis Hamilton will continue to kneel before races, but more drivers may opt to stand on Sunday