Era of non-political F1 pilots 'gone' now says Wurz
Apr.6 - The days are over when Formula 1 drivers could stay out of political matters.
That is the view of Alex Wurz, a former F1 driver who is now president of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association - the union representing the active drivers in Formula 1.
In Saudi Arabia recently, reports emerged that the Wurz-led GPDA had united in a potential threat to boycott the Jeddah race as a response to nearby missile and drone strikes.
Ultimately, they were persuaded to drop the boycott, and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff denies that any "coercion" took place.
"There was no pressure from our side," Wolff insisted. "Perhaps that was interpreted in a different way by the outside world.
"But in the end the spectacle was great and what we delivered as a sport was a good show and I think this is what sport should do."
What is clear, however, is that the drivers are becoming more and more outspoken about wanting a bigger say in the key decisions that affect them.
Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and others, meanwhile, are now becoming conspicuously active on other political, social and environmental issues.
"We can see that sport has undergone a very swift change over the last few years," Austrian Wurz told the Guardian newspaper.
Last year, for instance, seven time world champion Hamilton spearheaded the Black Lives Matter message in the F1 paddock.
"Before, drivers were seen as sportspeople where the position was 'I am a sportsperson, I am not getting involved in politics'," Wurz said.
"That time has really gone. In the last two to three years those young people have suddenly come to the position that they should have an opinion and that they should also talk and express their opinions and deal with their responsibility for it."
And even though the Jeddah boycott ultimately came to nothing, Wurz thinks the drivers are finally making their voices heard.
"It's definitely very impressive to watch that they strongly came together," he said. "As they did so over the last few years, but now it is demanded of athletes.
"The transformation of young people taking this responsibility is impressive. We are talking about people who are dedicated to a professional life and they are going out and informing themselves and forming their opinions."
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We've heard all of this before. Last time it was safety issues and the drivers won the battle. Of course, we overshot the target and ended up with boring sanitized tracks. What's next, every driver given 5 minutes before each race to espouse his/her socio-political position? The overshot will be political parties sponsoring drivers/teams.
People are entitled to say whatever they want. Why not wait for a better time. Maybe before the season starts. Not embarrassing the host country while they are there. If the drivers feel strongly about some terrible deed, don’t race, boycott. Host countries are paying a great deal of money to the FIA.
Objecting to the shenanigans of a country is the flavor-of-the-month, so to speak. You may recall that Sir Lulu took a run at the Saudi's last year, and got spanked by the Saudi Minister of Sports And Wasting Lots and Lots of Money to basically piss-off. The other example is the cancelling of the 2022 F1 race in Sochi. Pesky Russians and their invasion of the Ukraine.
But what truly jars my preserves, is the SJW, virtue-signalling bullsh_t. The bended knee for BLM, or bringing gender pronouns into any discussion, or Cancel Culture. Bringing that into ANY sport environment is unforgiveable. Honest competition is what I'm here to watch, and support. Not some ghastly and awkward woke festival.
Usually completely agree with your posts. But, are you suggesting that the unprovoked invasion of a neighboring country are simply "shenanigans"? If so, IMO, you are way off the mark on this one. If the US invaded Canada, bombed your cities and killed your family would that be a "shenanigan"? Maybe I misunderstood your post.
I'm deeply troubled by the war-crimes and unwarranted invasion of the Ukraine by Russia. No, they aren't shenanigans, they are the work of a mad-man. I should have used a different example.
Thought so, you the man. Let's go racing! Aussie power!
Absolutely enough politics, this is an FI fan site, Hamilton's acting as an instigator.
Absolutely agree with you Susan, how dare f1 drivers lay down the rights & wrongs of host's countries if they don't like the country simply refuse to go and shut up,, leave it to the people who know what they're talking about and do what they're paid megabucks for drive to win. 😎
We all have our own political views and should be respected for them
However F1 is not and should not be a platform to air them
The likes of Hamilton and Vettel should shut up and stop trying to foist their shit on everyone