Hamilton and Vettel want to continue kneeling in each GP against racism
Guenther Steiner wonders what they will think of them when they stop making these gestures
The fight against racism returned to the world agenda last May and Formula 1, like other sports, has been forced to raise its voice in favor of equality, due to the notable injustices and insistence of Lewis Hamilton. Silverstone will follow the gestures of the Great Circus against racism, while some wonder how long these will last. There is no agreement between the pilots on the issue.
Lewis Hamilton launched an intense activism campaign on his social media to raise awareness of racism in May, called for commitment from the entire Formula 1 community and criticized the silence of some of his industry colleagues.
The first thing Lewis did is for F1 to start the ‘We race as one’ campaign for diversity and for Mercedes to paint its car black to raise awareness of the existence of a problem that some doubt has a place in Formula 1.
F1 was offered as a space for the drivers to express their rejection of racism as they wanted. In Austria, the pilots appeared in black shirts with the message “End racism” written and a part of the grid knelt down, imitating the gesture for the cause with which the players of the National Football League demonstrated.
Then Hungary came and with it, chaos. Although the pilots had spoken and organized to repeat the kneeling gesture, as reported by Hamilton and Vettel, there was not enough time to do so. For Silverstone, F1 has promised this weekend that it will give them enough room for those who want to protest racism.
All pilots are committed to the cause, however, not all of them choose to kneel. Before the first Austrian race, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen shared that, although they defend freedom of expression, they are not supporters of this gesture and believe that what matters is the actions and daily behavior of each one.
Pilots like Hamilton and Vettel believe that it is vital to keep going with the initiative to kneel every weekend and respond to those who think that making the gesture once is enough.
“Grosjean does not think it is important to do that. He is one of those who believes that it was done once and that that was all we had to do,” Lewis said in remarks for The Race.
The category is offered as a platform to send awareness messages, but it is also exposed to criticism for giving voice to one cause and not to another in a world that increasingly criticizes both what is done and what is not. .
The kneeling gesture raises several debates in itself: How long is it going to be done? Does it not have more strength to do it only once? Will the fan notice when they stop doing it?
These are doubts that resonate in the head of Guenther Steiner, head of Haas, who anticipates the day when F1 stops making the gesture and remembers that this will not mean that they stop supporting the fight.
“I think it is everyone’s personal decision whether to do it, but there is also the question of … How long are we going to do this? We are all in favor, but we are doing it that way and if someone decides not to do it anymore, it does not mean that they are not against racism. We should be aware of that too, “Steiner reflected.
A complex issue: F1 does well to give space to demonstrations of this type, but the repetition of gestures like this can generate the opposite effect, that we assume them as normal and that it loses its function of raising awareness and extraordinary and that with it, it loses its news and the press stop highlighting it.
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