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Grosjean wants guidance from F1 over driver 'protest' procedure

NEWS STORY
30/07/2020

Romain Grosjean has spoken out after being criticised for the shambolic pre-race 'protests' by drivers in support of the sport's anti-racism drive.

While all went well ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, with all twenty drivers in attendance, ahead of the Styrian race the TV cameras cut away after a few seconds to cover the Red Bull sky divers.

Even worse was to follow in Hungary, where, as Lewis Hamilton got the 'protest' under way, a number of drivers arrived late for the 'ceremony' while one or two didn't even make it.

All of which further frustrated Hamilton, who was already unhappy that a number of drivers had not 'taken the knee'.

The Briton subsequently pointed the finger at Grosjean, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, who according to the world champion, had given mixed messages over the ceremony when the matter was raised at driver briefings, the Frenchman having suggested that after Austria drivers didn't need to continue 'taking the knee' at each race.

Speaking at today's press conference Grosjean was keen to clarify the situation while revealing that he has since spoken to Hamilton to clear the air.

"It's hard for us drivers to organise things over an event, because you know we've got many things to look at," he said of the pre-race ceremonies. "So we wanted more guidance from Liberty and a clear procedure, before the race, as we did in Austria race one.

"I think that's going to happen," he added, "and that's going to be more clear for all of us to know exactly what to do."

Referring to Hamilton, whose public criticism had led to him being criticised on social media and even being labelled "racist", he said: "In the GPDA, we work on the majority vote system, and I felt that if I wasn't, as one of the directors, listening to the drivers who were not happy to carry on, I wasn't doing my duties.

"He mentioned that as one of the directors they're listening to you, and that was his point, and I think he was right in that aspect," he admitted.

"It was a good chat with Lewis," he continued. "I said sorry, maybe I did it the wrong way, but I felt that I had to do it at the time. I also said I wasn't very happy that the media (stories) came out, and on my social media there were a lot of things about racism and that I am a racist and whatsoever, which is absolutely wrong.

"I don't think you will find anyone in the world saying that I did something wrong in that aspect," he insisted. "So I wasn't very happy about being treated that way.

"I was one of the first ones to support, and to push, that we take the knee. I'm still hopeful that one day we will get twenty drivers to take the knee on the grid, and that it will happen at one point."

While all twenty drivers, as seen at the Austrian Grand Prix, support the 'end racism' message, some prefer not to take the knee. It is the failure of all twenty drivers to show their support by taking the knee that has upset Hamilton and sections of the media.

The fact is that a number of drivers regard 'taking the knee' as being disrespectful to their country, as the origins of the gesture were specifically aimed at the American national anthem.

"I am a free man and I want to express myself in a way that I think is convenient to my culture and my principles," said Carlos Sainz, when asked why he hadn't taken the knee, even though he has been present for the pre-race ceremony and worn an "end racism" T-Shirt. "I’m going to keep it that way and I expect you guys and everyone in the paddock to respect that as I’m sure you will."

"Everybody has their own way of expressing it," added Max Verstappen, "but we are all united in fighting racism and trying to end it. That’s the most important thing. It’s not about taking a knee or not."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by elsiebc, 01/08/2020 4:28

"I don't tune into F1 to be lectured and told that I am racist. If there aren't enough "people of color" in the F1 circus, I didn't have anything to do with it.
BTW Do drivers hire their own physios or are they assigned to them by the teams?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by StevieD99, 31/07/2020 19:47

"Hamilton is the racist and Racism is abhorrent but so is BLM!
How dare this slug bring politics into the sport I loved? I had never considered Hamilton 'Black' but I do know and I can say I honestly LOATH the B'd.
Why is everybody so scared of this 'underprivileged Blackman' 99% of his victories are due to his 'underprivileged' car that he drives, put him in a 'Haas' and let's see his true talents...LOL
Just as a footnote the idiot does not realise that BLM is a Neo-Marxist organisation and fast cars do NOT fit high on their agenda.
The other thing that boils my P, is this vegan cr4p and we must look after the planet this from the hypocritical tw4 t that flys all over the world to race cars fast cars for a living!"

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3. Posted by StevieD99, 31/07/2020 19:30 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 31/07/2020 19:45)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Neutral (0)

4. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 30/07/2020 22:23

"Obey or your racist. Singularity of thought is the only way. Compelling argument to end racism, right?"

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5. Posted by hussainahm, 30/07/2020 17:41 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 31/07/2020 19:45)

"Sorry but Hamilton is out of line. The first person to do it was an American who said "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour." People are now just doing it like they do "challenges" making it lose its original meaning."

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