First, a warning.

After a seven month black hole of real Formula 1 racing (note: Lando Norris in his undies at home doesn't count), you're probably a lot more than ready to start reading about soft compounds, two-stop strategies and 'party-modes'.

Well, even though we're firing those engines next weekend, there's something else we need to talk about. Why?

Because Black Lives Matter. Bigot.

Rainbows in the Sky

So if you don't want to hear about why we need to talk about this explosive three-word phrase in the Formula 1 context, then please believe me - neither do I. But we have been told that we have to. There's no avoiding it, apparently. Read those rainbows and hashtags of equity, inclusiveness and diversity (and COVID-19 and climate change, mind you) and weep.

So if you're squeamish about 2020 politics, or just god damn sick of its invasion into every pore of your life and soul, then look away right now. This isn't the place for you.

What this place is good for, though, is contemplating just how important this moment is for the sport we love. When a driver dies or is horribly injured, we need to talk about it. When a manufacturer pulls the plug, we need to talk about it. And when the collective madness of identity politics poisons that delightful refuge that was once Formula 1, we need to talk about it.

Now, obviously black lives matter. And while there may be a lot of white faces in the Formula 1 paddock, those lives matter too. There, I said it - an almost unspeakable truth of 2020.

But hang on just a moment. What the hell is racist about Formula 1, you might wonder. Perhaps the most truly international sport that zips from Australia to the Middle East, Shanghai across to continental Europe, both American continents to the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, behind the old Iron Curtain to Singapore, to Putin's Russia, the Land of the Rising Sun ... is racist?!

Racism in Formula 1

The only seriously racist incident I can think of dates back to the 2008 pre-season, when a bunch of Spanish idiots blacked up their faces in a Barcelona grandstand to mock Fernando Alonso's new nemesis, Lewis Hamilton.

But it was condemned by absolutely everyone. No one sniggered, no one made excuses, everyone said it was horrible and had no place in any sport - especially ours.

12 years on, and what has changed? Well, a lot. And not for the better.

How about Nascar?

Look at NASCAR. At Talladega Superspeedway (known locally as Dega) in Alabama (known locally as Bama), a terribly, horribly, awfully racist hate crime took place just a few days ago. Having championed the banning from the series of the Confederate flag, and the Black Lives Matter movement on his car's livery, and the injustice of George Floyd's death with his 'I can't breathe' t-shirts, NASCAR's only black driver Bubba Wallace found himself the subject of one of the biggest mainstream stories of June:

A noose (yes, a noose) was found hanging in Bubba's garage at Dega. The dark shadow cast by pointy-hood wearing lynch-mobs was obviously still hanging over the USA.

Oh. Except it was just the rope that pulled down the garage door. Oops!

If it had just been a simple misunderstanding and a minor footnote, who really cares? But what happened before 15 (fifteen!) FBI agents solved the complex riddle of the rope that opens a garage door was the most unbelievable display of collective and performative white guilt that I think I've ever seen.

Hollywood tear-jerk music in the background, the announcer was close to tears as the huge #IStandWithBubba hashtag, resplendent in the grass, was filmed from above by a helicopter. Barely unable to contain his emotion, the presenter hailed the sport's "lone, black driver" as his racing beast was pushed by every single one of his peers - rival drivers, mechanics and everybody else - down the pitlane only for Bubba to emerge through the window and promptly break down in tears.

"A despicable act by someone, flying directly in the face of NASCAR's efforts to build a culture that is diverse, equal and welcoming..." the presenter droned on, dramatically.

To be clear: No racer had crashed and tragically died. No twin towers had been knocked over by terrorism. Oh no: Someone had been spooked by the shape of the garage door rope pull that had hung there innocently for months and months and months.

You may sense that I'm running out of patience for this stuff.

Why's that? Because lurking behind all of this theatre is a shady insinuation. You - yes, you pale-skinned people out there - have a lot to answer for.

Politics of F1 Drivers

Like Bubba, who doubled down on the racism narrative rather than celebrate that he had in fact not been the victim of a hate crime, Formula 1's "lone, black driver" Lewis Hamilton is also in the thick of it.

Honestly, it's been cringe-worthy. Shaming his rivals on social media for their "silence", even dark-skinned former racer and Indian Karun Chandhok had to come out and count himself among Hamilton's formerly silent political allies. One by one by one, the rest of the sheepish and shamed Formula 1 drivers were pulled out of their home simulators and onto their metaphorical knees.

"I've learned that just because you might not consider yourself a racist, that's not enough," said Daniel Ricciardo. "You have to speak up, you have to educate yourself and others around you. I've understood that being silent is part of the problem."

The Australian with an Italian name goes on: "I have felt, I don't know if it's guilty ... how could I have been so naive to everything that's been going on? It's good, it's positive, and I think change is really happening."

I mean, how could you argue with that? Lewis Hamilton has told us that hurling statues into rivers is uncontroversially good. Protesting amid a pandemic is definitely good. Supporting Black Lives Matter is unquestionably good.

And getting Ricciardo and his sheepish mates off their metaphorical knees and onto their real ones in Austria next weekend will be near mandatory.

Yeah. Are we all on board with this?

As I pointed out in this space a couple of weeks ago, F1 CEO Chase Carey's wife Wendy isn't necessarily on board. I didn't want to reveal that she is a Trump supporter - and I most certainly didn't want her to react by deleting her entire Twitter account. But if Hamilton and Ricciardo are allowed to tell me what they think is good, I'm allowed to tell you what I think is good.

My Opinion

That's only fair and equal. So this is what I think.

On its official website, Black Lives Matter says we should defund the police. That's not good - I support the police. Co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors admits she is a "trained Marxist". That's not good - I hate Marxism. The movement wants to "dismantle cisgender privilege" - that sounds ominous. It wants to "disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure" - how about no?

So while black lives certainly do matter, Black Lives Matter is not something I support. While I hate racism, I do not believe Marxists hold the key to the answer. In fact, I really do want to keep the keys a long way from those guys.

To Formula 1's credit, its reaction to all of this nonsense has been to dodge the words 'black lives matter' and instead add some rainbows and cuddly hashtags about unity and ending racism to the car liveries for Austria and beyond. And fair enough.

But Ross Brawn and Jean Todt coming out and saying they support everything Hamilton says about this dangerous political moment in world history is a big mistake. Why? Because I see what's happening here. Hamilton is telling us the doctrine, and penalties await those who blaspheme. Well, that's not a campaign for unity. That sounds dogmatic and cultish and totalitarian. And for that reason alone, I will never support it.

Does that preclude me from writing about Formula 1? Possibly.

So I'm just going to get it all out right here and hope for the best. No, Lewis, you are not a victim. You are a professional racing driver who is paid millions of euros every year by a company that once used millions of Jews, Slavs and other conquered peoples as slaves. You were a model for Hugo Boss - whose founder was an actual Nazi who made the actual uniforms for Hitler's actual soldiers.

And I haven't heard you say a single word about those actual atrocities.

Calm down, should I? Oh no. I want this crap out of my system and out of my sport.

As I put together the daily Formula 1 news feed that is my bread and butter, I've noticed Germany's Sport1 declare this week: "Rechtspopulist attackiert Hamilton". The right-wing populist who attacked Lewis is none other than British mainstream politician Nigel Farage, who had merely wondered on Twitter: "Will the ignorant hypocrisy ever end?"

Indeed. Does that make me a 'Rechtspopulist' too?

Now, amid a rant like this, I might actually sound like the hypocrite to be wondering if freedom of speech in Formula 1 is dead. But I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of global and ideological politics, because that's a lifelong interest of mine as well. And - until 2020 - it has always been separate to my love of Formula 1. Apples and oranges.

I just want it to stay that way.

To my readers: Speak up and do what you can to keep this crap out of the sport that used to unite those who love it. Otherwise, just like NASCAR and football, it's ready to invade your space as well.

A few days ago, just moments after the Premier League team Burley took a pre-game knee, and moments before taking on Manchester City, a plane flew across the sky trailing a banner reading 'White lives matter Burley".

Burley captain Ben Mee was then hounded by the media for an appropriate reaction. Duly compliant, he was "ashamed and embarrassed", insisting: "This is not what we're about at all".

"Hopefully these people can learn and be taught about what the whole Black Lives Matter movement is trying to achieve," he added.

No, Ben. 'Those people' will just rip up their season tickets and turn off the TV. And Formula 1? You're next.

Rant over.

The opinions expressed are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of, staff or partners.

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44 F1 Fan comments on “How racial politics could kill Formula 1

  1. Wendy Carey

    An angry man with a huge chip on his shoulder.
    Delving into the authors mind surely can only reveal jealousy and hatred.
    A desire to be accepted by his peers as an F1 journalist met with complete rejection by them.
    None of his pieces are ever comprised of any real F1 content of substance. This can only be rationalised by a complete lack of connection within the industry.
    Is the creation of agitation and division within the readership really what this sites stakeholders are after?

  2. Paul Alex Treadaway

    This entire article shows you fundamentally do not understand what the Black Lives Matter movement is or what it represents. Of course all lives matter, but what this movement is trying to say is that Black Lives Matter TOO. History shows us, through the Slave Trade, through Apartheid, through race riots, through police brutality that White lives have been systemically valued far more and this is just the hard truth. This movement is trying to say that its time to address this and to enact change so that everyone’s lives do actually matter equally.

    As the only current black driver its right that figures in the sport should take their cues from Lewis Hamilton, as a highly successful sportsman but also as the only current driver who can communicate the pain and injustice he and some many other black and non-white individuals have faced in their lives despite his obviously very privileged position now financially and in terms of his status in the sport. Karun Chandok, Narain Karthikeyan, Pascal Wehrlein and Juan Pablo Montoya’s silence on the issue did surprise me considering their status as the only non-white or mixed race drivers to have ever competed in Formula 1. Thats a total of 5 out of the 774 drivers to have raced in Formula 1 since 1950.

    I’m amazed you find this and its presence in Formula 1 offensive, as its not about if Formula 1 or motorsport is racist; which to its credit it predominantly is not and it has tackled any issues of racism in the recent history of the sport well.

    It’s about utilising the sport’s huge global reach to support true equality for non-white people and a public acceptance of the hurt, pain and injustices of the past. If you don’t think sport should be political then you also need to stop living in a dreamworld, sport is and always will be political, in a variety of ways both good and bad.

    Thats why Mohammed Ali threw away his Olympic gold medal in 1968, why in the same year two African-American Olympians made a fist during a podium ceremony, why mass boycotts of the Olympics took place in the 1980s, why the Springboks were banned from the international rugby scene during the 1980s and 1990s, why Russia has been banned from competing in all Olympics until 2022 due to state sponsored cheating at the 2014 Winter Olympics and why Qatar is hosting a World Cup in 2022, despite the impracticality of the country’s climate for the tournament.

    Its also why the South African Grand Prix was dropped from the Formula 1 calendar until a brief return in 1992-93 and why direct tobacco advertising was banned in Formula 1 from 2007 onwards. Sport has been and is always political and Formula 1 is no different. If you don’t see that then your ignorance of the history of sport, including Formula 1, is concerning and means your reporting is the poorer for it.

    I say all of this as a white man who has been angered and upset by this article. Who knows how angry and upset you have made your black and ethnic minority readers by publishing this article. If you don’t want Formula 1 to be political, don’t write pieces such as this on your Formula 1 themed website. I have enjoyed this website hugely until now, and your political article has tainted it for me and I’m sure many others. It is your political interjection I find offensive, not that of Formula 1.

    • Adrian Roscher

      You forgot about Alex Albon in your list of non-white or mixed-race F1 drivers, but are completely forgiven, as I completely agree with everything else you said in response to the ignorant screed posted by Maitland. A very white lifelong US F1 and NASCAR fan speaking here, who has always been dismayed at the proliferation of traitor flags at NASCAR events and is EXTREMELY PROUD of what NASCAR has done to advance the cause of racial justice and equity in our country over the past month!

      • Paul Alex Treadaway

        Yes of course Alex Albon as well! I forget as his father is British but of course he is half-Thai and races under the Thai flag in Formula 1. That leaves 767 out of 774 drivers in Formula 1 history have been white, with only 7 being black, non-white or mixed race. NASCAR has done a fantastic job in recent days and weeks at enacting real change in the culture and operations of that series and I respect them enormously for doing so!

        • Adrian Roscher

          what I find sad on an F1 fan comment site like this is that Paul's original comment has 10 thumbs down to 5 thumbs up (including mine), my comment has 6 thumbs down and none up, and Paul's response to me 8 thumbs down to two (including mine) up. That tells me this site has an awful lot of angry men on it who read Maitland's screed with approval. Sad.

          • John Mitchell

            I think Andrew's article is correct and his points well made. True there has been problems especially in the U.S. but to carry on about slavery at this point in time is ridiculous. As some else mentioned just about everyone has been treated as slaves at some point in history and Vikings treatment of people in the British Isles was along those lines as well as many other "tribes" that came to Britain. And He is also correct in saying that we do not hold anyone in Scandinavia with disrespect. It was HISTORY.
            I have been a follower of F1 since the 1960's and have never considered the race or colour of any driver. To me they are all F1 drivers. This current movement is out of hand, it has lost track of what it was about and just turned it into a reason to riot against the establishment. Keep it out of our sport and for that matter any sport.

    • Bryan

      BLM is about violence, hatred and division. I could go on and on and on much like your meaningless diatribe but I’ll spare everyone’s time. Identity politics has no place in society let alone F1!!

  3. Paul Alex Treadaway

    I also meant to include Alex Yoong in my list of non-white F1 drivers - 6 out of 774 who have raced in Formula 1. Hardly a better statistic.

  4. Adrian Roscher

    ps - just saw Treadaway's amendment to include Albon - right on!
    Also, to further address Maitland, yes, your rant above does make you a "Rechtspopulist too" - as we say to our own domestic fascists and white nationalists on a daily basis these days, if the the shoe fits, wear it!

  5. Philippe LeDijen

    The content of this piece is not only ethically questionable, given the current racial discrimination issue in the community, it is morally compromised.
    Your willingness to publish the article is poor editorial judgement, in my opinion.
    Consequentially, if you do not remove the article, and stop publishing anymore articles by its author in future, I will no longer visit your site or purchase items through your store.
    The decision is for you to make.

  6. djole

    f1 was created by white man, all technology in it also, but that can easily apply to whole world
    why those who hate white race and being white just dont move to africa, i mean country of Liberia was built for that and Ghana offered to all black from USA to move there, but they wont
    also if Hamilton had and principles, he wouldnt been driving Hitlers car...
    conclusion, they are all just brainwashed pawns, that are doing on new world order agenda for their masters, they are real slaves of their own ignorance
    and btw there is and was many non white drivers like: Pascal Wehrlein, Takuma Sato, Sakon Yamamoto, Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa, Kamui Kobayashi, Estabem Ocon, Lewis Hamilton, Karun Chandok, Narain Karthikeyan, Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll, Esteban Gutierrez, Rio, Haryanto, Felipe Nasr, Pastor Maldonado and many more, to much if you ask me

  7. John M

    Phillippe LeDijen I'm sure fi-Fansite is shaking in its boots. What pathetic comments.I think the article was well written and covered a lot of relevant points. Keep racism out of F1

  8. Dave Hollom

    Whilst everyone, I am sure, would agree that slavery was bad, it is an ill wind that blows no good. If it had not been for slavery Lewis would be living in Africa, probably in a mud hut, scraping a living and driving a donkey. Just about every nation in the world has been made slaves by another. We were enslaved by the Vikings, that's why scandinavian girls look so good. They only took the best looking ones back with them. However, when I pass a statue of a Viking warrior i don't come over all funny and want to dump it into the river. Let a bit of sense prevail.

  9. ReallyOldRacer

    Amazing number of first time posters on here, and they write tomes, not posts. Would that hey had that much interest in actual RACING, and maybe a bit more reticence, this might be a lively site.

  10. ReallyOldRacer

    Re the Dega noose in Bama, how about a little conspiracy about the FBI "solving" this mystery? I have been in hundreds of race garages and have NEVER met a mechanic who would take the time to tie a nicely crafted noose as a door pull.....and what does it say that nobody noticed it since at least last October? hmm. Will the Civil War never end?

  11. ReallyOldRacer

    One more comment. Re Maitland, OK some of his opinions don't match with the masses. Here is the deal...he makes people think and that is the point of journalism, or at least it should be.

    • ReallyOldRacer

      To the person who thumbed down my comment, what IS the purpose of journalism, to simply reinforce your pre-disposition? Bring it, Maitland.

      BTW, I notice and ad for "2d amendment t-shirts" adjacent to this thread. This just keeps getting better and better.

  12. Jakeman

    Well, given all the comments would appear that the author's prediction of the end of F1 may be correct. There is no dialogue, only shaming. While the author's tone is pedantic and unfortunate some points are valid. I assume that those denigrating the author support Marxism and the destruction of the black nuclear family. I certainly don't. I want successful, strong black Lewis.

  13. ReallyOldRacer


  14. Jase

    Interesting that this would be the place for actual racists to be racist, and yet all I see is either idiots on the left or reasonable people asking for politics to go away from Formula. where are all these supposd racists?

  15. Lynn Da Re

    I agree with all your comments Andrew Maitland!!! thank you for finally saying what so manny people want to say but fear saying it in case we are seen as racists!!!

  16. Andrew Maitland

    Thanks for the comments everyone. And watch out for bad actors pretending to be me in the comments! If I comment here, it’s just to say thanks - all of my actual opinions will only ever be in the actual pieces.

    • Keep PC Culture Out Of F1

      Another great article Andrew. The garage rope pull was news to me. Freaking hilarious. I honestly thought Bubba was pulling a Smolett. I mean, how much kit's in one of those garages? Half a million USD worth? Possibly a lot more. And NO cameras. Give me a break.

      I commend your courage in taking a stand. You don't stand alone. The longer this drags out the more people will be forced off the fence. But that's the whole point. Order out of chaos after all.

      Bringing this back to F1 - do you remember Vettel's comments last year, or perhaps the year before, when Brundle interviewed him on SkyTV? He was asked if he was concerned about his legacy and how he will be remembered (alluding to his fruitless tenure at Ferrari). I'm paraphrasing, but he basically said that with the pace the world was advancing with, he didn't think it mattered because it won't be remembered anyway. We can obviously only guess as to what he meant by that, but you can tell there's more going on between his ears than most of his peers. He also looks like he's aged 10 years during his stint at Ferrari. Some of these guys get to peak behind the curtain after all.

      I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect the people of the future will have a hell of a lot more to worry about than watching a few cars run around a racetrack.

  17. Fred

    Andrew, the media also conveniently neglects the fact that Ronspeak went down on record years ago (check the records) stating his reasons for harboring a young Hamilton were not just about talent. His intent was a black man in F1.
    So, Hamilton’s pathway to F1 was in fact, paved by positive racial discrimination.

  18. Micci

    Lets all be careful about taking a 'knee' it can be difficult to stand up again when a traumatized and directionless free society has its foot on the back of your neck.

  19. MichaelM

    What a fantastically good and well written piece. A real refresher. Black, yellow, white, etc, lives matter and matter a great deal. Virtue signalling by L Hamilton won't do anything to right the wrongs of the past, it will only incite more division on the basis of colour which will certainly not improve justice or the lives of anyone. Formula 1 and all other sports should focus on what it is their core business. F1 is about racing and competing between the best cars and drivers. And the sports can only better if we all act together rather then divided. People are attracted to the sport when in the interest of competition, not in the interest of a fleeting virtue signaling moment. Credit to those drivers that did join the knee at last weekend Austrian race. These guys are as aware of the issue as all those that took the knee to conform with the this moment of unquestioning conformity. People will keep attending (when possible) or watching on TV for as long as the competition is interesting, NOT for the kneeling show; and if the public don't get what the majority of them want, will just switch off and with it the sport will die because the majority of us are aligned with those drivers that didn't take the knee rather then the small noise minority.

  20. saumakos

    Ich finde den Artikel inhaltlich absolut berechtigt - im Sinne eines dialektischen Gegenpols zu der PC-Tendenz, die in allen Lebensbereichen - auch in der F1 Einzug gehalten hat. Es ist aber letztlich gut für das ganzheitliche Lernen der Menschenseelen in dieser mysteriösen und auch immer irrsinnigeren Diesseitigkeit, denn dadurch wird nur endlich offenbar, was immer schon aus dem Hintergrund uns korrumpierte oder wir uns davon in die Irre leiten liessen. Das Eindringen solcher Auseinandersetzungen in die profane Welt ist gut für das Erwachen aus der Banalität des geistlosen Lebens, wo wir alle vergessden haben, dass wir doch viel mehr sind als nur unser Geldbeutel und unser Körper. Interessanter und dialektischer Weise ist es gerade die hoch materialistische Welt des Sportevents, der Formel Eins, wo das Eindringen des Irrsinns, den Micci so schön zusammenfasste (Seien wir alle vorsichtig, wenn wir ein Knie nehmen. Es kann schwierig sein, wieder aufzustehen, wenn eine traumatisierte und richtungslose freie Gesellschaft ihren Fuß im Nacken hat.) - zu einer höheren Erkenntnis in der Geschichte der Menschheit führen kann und wird. Der Mensch - hier im irsisch-weltlichen Diesseits für eine Weile getrennt in Völker und Ideologien, durch Ignoranz, Gehorsam und Defätismus von prüfenden Dämonen leicht spaltbar und aufgehetzbar gegen seine Mitmenschen - wird letztendlich wie ein Phönix aus der Asche steigen. Doch für die meisten wird dieser Prozess sich länger hinziehen und schmerzhaft sich wiederholen, bis sie aus Erfahrung gelernt haben, nämlich für die, die nicht loslassen können, das „sichere“ und konformistische Leben, das von hinterlistigen Manipulationen der Massenpsychologie vorgeschireben wird. Nur wer mutig über den erlaubten Tellerrand hinausschaut, nur wer auch auf die Gefahr der Ächtung durch die Masse nach Wahrhaftigkeit strebt, wie Andrew Maitland, nur der wird in die Eigenverantwortung kommen, nur der wird schneller lernen, worum es in der Erdenexistenz wirklich geht. (Ein in der Jugend ehemaliger fanatischer F1-Fan)

    • saumakos

      I didn't write or sent it in this way. There must be a technical problem having lead to a complete unlogic change of my sentences. I have a copy of my text .... so, I would like to know why such thing happens???

  21. Les

    Hamilton needs to educate himself about the legal system. It wasn't the police or prosecution who decided not to prosecute the police for the death of BreannaTaylor it was a grand jury. Her boyfriend shot at police they shot back..That seems a correct decision by the grand jury even thougj it was the wrong house.


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