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Masi clarifies T-Shirt reprimands


Race Director, Michael Masi has clarified why four drivers were handed reprimands for wearing T-Shirts ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

Following last year's Tuscany Grand Prix, race-winner Lewis Hamilton faced investigation for wearing a slogan emblazoned T-Shirt.

Before the race, and again on the podium, the world champion sported a black T-Shirt which read "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" on the front and "say her name" on the back, along with a picture of Ms Taylor.

It was thought the T-Shirt breached FIA's statutes that require that competitors "refrain from manifesting discrimination on account of race, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation or disability in the course of its activities", while the sporting code forbids competitors from "affixing to their automobiles advertising that is political or religious in nature or that is prejudicial to the interests of the FIA".

However, days later, ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, the FIA clarified the rules.

(As usual) "once out of their cars, the top three Drivers will be weighed by the FIA near their cars" said race director, Michael Masi in his race notes, adding that "Each Driver must remain fully attired until after they have been weighed (e.g.: Helmet, Gloves, etc.)."

However, a new clause stated that: "For the duration of the Podium Ceremony and Post Race Interview Procedure, the Drivers finishing in race in positions 1, 2, 3 must remain attired only in their Driving Suits, 'done up' to the neck, not opened to the waist.

"For the duration of the TV pen interviews and FIA Post Race Press Conference, all Drivers finishing must remain attired in their respective teams' uniform only.

"For the avoidance of doubt this includes a Medical Face Mask or Team Branded Face Mask."

As F1 ramped up its We Race As One message, drivers were allowed to wear T-Shirts ahead of the race but not during the national anthems.

On Sunday, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz were still wearing theirs during the anthem, and were subsequently handed (non-driving) reprimands.

The move led to the inevitable outcry on social media, especially in respect of Vettel who was wearing a 'Same Love' Pride shirt.

"Earlier this year we clarified (the rules)," says Masi. "And following discussion internally with the FIA and F1, we said we wanted to keep giving all of the drivers the ability to have the moment to show effectively their support for We Race as One however they chose, but then the national anthem for a particular country should be respected with drivers all wearing their race suits.

"So it was clarified and made very clear that once that moment was displayed and the drivers showed their recognition they would have to remove their shirt or anything else they wore and go to the national anthem in their race uniform.

"And that's been the same for a number of events now, so this is the first event where it has happened since and all of those drivers that kept their shirts on, it wasn't just Sebastian, there were four or five drivers, all received a non-driving reprimand for failing to follow the race director's instructions.

"It was observed by a number of people including the media delegate who is out there, and myself on television. It went from me to the stewards, it was a breach and that's why it was a reprimand for the first offence."

Asked, since a reprimand could ultimately lead to a grid penalty, if the punishment was somewhat harsh, Masi said: "You look at all penalties on the basis of what it is. Reprimands are the lowest penalty other than a warning, which really is not a penalty, it's a warning.

"A non-driving reprimand, so you need to have two driving reprimands and one non-driving to ultimately get to a grid penalty. But as an example, three non-driving reprimands it doesn't have that impact."


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1. Posted by jcr, 11/08/2021 19:36

"People seem to forget the reason for the whole Dress Code issue.
Seb was not penaised for wearing the T Shirt for the drivers show of support for whatever issue.
The issues got out of hand when Hamilton carried it onto the podium, for World TV.
After that The FIA ruled that drivers would dress officially for all for all duties.
I.E, National Anthem, Podium, ect.
In this instance it was lashing rain,
Seb said in an interview immediately afterwards that He simply forgot to take it off.
And He Quite happily took his punishment.
He also Rainbowed his Helmet and put rainbow on car, Fair play !!!!
But the person who does all the talking about it, Sir Lewis. NOTHING."

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2. Posted by kenji, 07/08/2021 2:21

"@ Pavlo...yes they do force it upon me vis a vis the images displayed over the spectrum via my satellite connection. As for overreaction, well I am quite passionate about my sport and anything that disrupts and dilutes F1 racing I consider an unwarranted distraction. The people pushing the 'rainbow politics' have no interest in F1. To them it is simply a vehicle for exploitation. The virus here has once again raised the spectre of increased lockdowns and that's not good....but safe. and thank you for your kind wishes... Roll on Spa."

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3. Posted by Pavlo, 06/08/2021 13:34

"@kenji - the particular person in question painted his helmet and worn rainbow clothes, and another team painted their car. Do they really "force" it upon you?
It's hard for me to judge things "over the ocean", but in my opinion you overreact a bit. Both with 'rainbow' and with lockdown. With the first I just don't care (which is one of the meanings of the word 'respect'), with the second I can't complain as we now have 2 races a year, one of which I visited :)
Still hope things will be better in Australia soon."

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4. Posted by kenji, 06/08/2021 11:43

"@Pavlo...the appropriation of the 'rainbow' has everything to do with politics as you well know. IMO it has no place in F1...but by all means fly it from your rooftop, paint your car and wear rainbow clothes...if that's your bag but don't force it upon the F1 followers. It has nothing to do with 'respect' which is fastly becoming just another completely overused term. It's trying to justify something that doesn't sit well with everyone. That just happens to be my opinion. As for your sentiment, thank you, but I did not have a nice day, as we're in lockdown, a result of those pesky WUHANESE who have unleashed a pestilence on what's left of a civilised Western society!!!"

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5. Posted by kenji, 06/08/2021 11:31

"@ ED. I don't recall the Rainbow TV series but it certainly had a long and cherished life in the UK apparently. As for location well I reside on a rather large island consisting mainly of vast deserts with a slim green fringe somewhere deep in the outer realms of the South Pacific...and it's definitely not the centre of the Universe."

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6. Posted by Editor, 06/08/2021 7:43

"As far as I know, Kenji is in Australia not the UK.

Personally, as someone in the UK, for me Rainbow will always be Zippy, Bungle, George, Mr Geoffrey and Rod, Jane and Freddy."

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7. Posted by Pavlo, 06/08/2021 7:38

"@kenji - it’s just funny how you consider something “universal” just because it’s common around you… F1 is slightly more global than the UK. Poppy is an extremely wrong example of something “not political”.
To the same degree one can say that rainbow has nothing to do with politics, it’s just the universal symbol of respect to diversity.
Anyway, you too have a nice day!"

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8. Posted by kenji, 06/08/2021 0:31

"@ Pavlo...I've never seen a protest in the streets by angry mobs of people supporting the wearing of a poppy....and i've never seen or received any vile hate mail for supporting the poppy in principle. Poppies are a universal symbol of remembrance and self sacrifice that has no borders,nothing to do with politics per se. You have missed my point entirely Pavlo...people are entitled to wear the rainbow if they so desire, that is their right to express an opinion. My point is simply one that does not support the inclusion and exploitation by that movement into the realms of F1. Have a nice day."

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9. Posted by Pavlo, 05/08/2021 18:32

"@kenji - with all due respect to your right to remembrance of those fought for your safety, you must admit that the topic of war is extremely controversial, therefore in a global sport is “blatantly political”. There are probably more spectators (including paying for view) who consider rainbow way more neutral than poppy.
I hope you can understand, that to the same degree as you have a right to wear a poppy, you should respect the right of others to wear a rainbow."

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10. Posted by kenji, 05/08/2021 13:06

"@ Pavlo....Regards the 'rainbow' as a symbol appropriated by the 'alphabet people' to some is an example of what the famed philosopher Marshall McLuhan termed 'the medium is the message'. The 'poppy' though is a simple message, to a select few, of remembrance for those fallen soldiers who fought for the safety of others. Nothing contentious or blatantly political about the poppy...unlike the rainbow! That's why it's not part of the official livery of the AMR team and I would think that no matter that the FIA are complicit in allowing this rainbow nonsense to become integrated into the F1 ethos they migh just baulk at the rainbow becoming a sanctioned livery? Whatever...."

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11. Posted by Pavlo, 05/08/2021 6:28

"@kenji - and now we seem to agree. If AMR or Vettel consider their political message important, they have to put it on the T-Shirts and/or cars for the whole race length. This is what Mr. Masi demanded.
Bear in mind that the difference between rainbow as a “nice set of colors” and “political message” is defined purely by interpretation. Same as you can send a political message by something as small as a poppy, or even absence of a poppy."

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12. Posted by kenji, 05/08/2021 1:29

"@ Pavlo...Commercials can be [ in my case ] muted and even race and under real time racing we are still bombarded with 'political' messages. That's the difference. I pay for what the advertised content is not what a minority political organisation exploiting the medium says that it is. As for the T Shirts well what can I say? As an example..if AMR were to paint all their cars in rainbow stripes the Vettel would be able to wear their colours legitimately and in a non political way...will they do that? Not in a million years. Why? If I ran AMR [ fat chance of that happening ] I would make it a contractual condition that during work time at a GP weekend that drivers and all team personnel will not be seen in anything other than official team colours and kit. In their private time they can wear feather boas and green underwear, different coloured high heels and a parachute strapped to their back if they like... but not on my time."

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13. Posted by dejan, 04/08/2021 22:01

"Very tone deaf - can they wear a temporary tattoo on their cheeks? Or on the forehead?

Indeed that people are watching F1 for the driving and competition but the drivers are also human and to take away the forum from them is not the right move"

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14. Posted by KKK, 04/08/2021 19:48

"Should wear a man-kini...what a load of tosh. Masi, please go and sell hotdogs at Sydney Cricket ground!"

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15. Posted by Pavlo, 04/08/2021 16:14

"@kenji - you subscribe to the whole package and this is what you get. Quite a lot of subscribers don’t want to get advertisement of alcohol, betting, etc. etc. and still get it.
Still can’t see how would you “draw the line”. Ok, it’s clear for FIA-organized things, but for drivers? So rainbow T-Shirt is not allowed, but blue or orange is ok? Why?"

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