Site logo

FIA clarifies freedom of speech rule

NEWS STORY
20/02/2023

Following the reaction from numerous drivers, and indeed F1 itself, to the recent update of the International Sporting Code, the FIA has today issued clarification in terms of what is allowed and what isn't.

The clarification has been issued to all the teams, just two weeks before the season kicks off in Bahrain.

"A Guidance Note has been issued to Participants in International Competitions that sets out the scope of the updates made to the FIA International Sporting Code in December," said and FIA spokesperson.

"The updates cement the FIA's longstanding commitment to protecting motor sport's neutrality, and will particularly ensure neutrality during key moments across all motorsport competitions, such as podiums, national anthems and official activities 'on the field of play' - it does not impose any additional restrictions on individuals expressing their views outside of these times.

"The Guidance Note does not alter Article 12.2.1.n of the FIA International Sporting Code," they added. "It was necessary to provide a separate guidance document to facilitate the implementation of the principles of neutrality across the many different motorsport disciplines."

It reads as follows:

Guidance on the Principle of Neutrality (Article 12.2.1.n of the ISC)

For over half a century (since 8 May 1970 - Article 2 of the FIA Statutes), the FIA has maintained the principle of neutrality as one of its guiding values. Like the International Olympic Committee and many other sport governing bodies, this principle is reflected in its core rules (Article 1.2 of the FIA Statutes), which sets out the FIA's commitment not to discriminate on account of race, skin colour, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic or social origin, language, religion, philosophical or political opinion, family situation, or disability.

Article 12.2.1.n has been included in the FIA International Sporting Code (ISC) to cement the FIA's longstanding commitment to protecting motor sport's neutrality. This provision makes the following a breach of the rule:

"The general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its Statutes, unless previously approved in writing by the FIA for International Competitions, or by the relevant ASN for National Competitions within their jurisdiction" [emphasis added].

This note is intended to provide guidance to drivers and other participants (officials, teams, competitors, etc.) on the implementation of this principle during International Competitions.

Why does this principle exist and what does it aim to achieve?

The participants in International Competitions are part of a global community with different views, lifestyles and values. To ensure respect for this diversity, it is fundamental that motor sport remains neutral and thus separate from and free of political, religious, or personal interference.

The focus at any International Competition must remain on motor sport and on the performances of teams and drivers. It should not be used as a platform for individual advocacy.

This principle also aims to prevent participants from being placed in a position where they may be forced to take a public position on a particular domestic or international issue when they would prefer not to do so.

Can participants express their own views?

Yes. Participants can express their views on any political, religious or personal matter before, during and after the International Competition, in their own space, and outside the scope of the International Competition, for example:

- through their social media; or

- during interviews with accredited media (such as any TV or print media interviews,

- during the FIA press conference, only in response to direct questions from accredited journalists.

In addition, as explained below, on an exceptional and case-by-case basis, the FIA may authorise a participant to make a statement at an International Competition that would otherwise be prohibited by Article 12.2.1.n.

When expressing their views, participants are expected to respect applicable laws, the FIA's values, and all other participants. Any behaviour and/or expression that constitutes or signals discrimination, hatred, hostility, or the potential for violence is contrary to the FIA's values and will not be tolerated.

When does Article 12.2.1.n apply?

Participants are not permitted to make political, religious and/or personal statements in violation of the general principle of neutrality during:

- FIA press conferences (except in response to direct questions from accredited journalists);

- activities on the track (Course) area or equivalent (e.g., during the Drivers Parade and the national anthem); or

- pre-race / post-race procedures or equivalent (e.g., the podium ceremony, in the cool down room, or at the start- and end-of-season group photos).

What constitutes "political", "religious" or "personal"?

It is the responsibility of the Stewards to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a statement or comment - whether in the form of an image, symbol, gesture, words, or actions - is in breach of Article 12.2.1.n of the ISC. To aid the Stewards in making such determinations, the FIA has prepared a non-exhaustive list of potential scenarios that could be prohibited under Article 12.2.1.n. However, this list is intended to be illustrative only, and Stewards will carefully assess the specific circumstances of each potential contravention when determining whether a breach of the rules has occurred.

Illustrative examples

It is likely that a participant has breached the ISC under Article 12.2.1.n if they make any unapproved statements or comments - whether in the form of an image, symbol, gesture, words, or actions - related to the following:

Political:

- Any politically-associated or politically-sensitive person(s) living or dead (unless part of the official competition name).

- Any local, regional, national, or international political party/ organisation/group.

- Any local, regional, or national government or any of its departments, offices or functions.

- Any function or branch of government (e.g., any statement or comment regarding the police or military).

- Any reference (whether express or implied) to separatist movements (e.g., the display of a flag or symbol associated with an independence movement).

- Any organisation whose aims or actions: (i) conflict with the FIA's values or Diversity and Inclusion mission; and/or (ii) include hostility, prejudice, or unlawful discrimination on the grounds set out in Article 1.2 of the FIA Statutes.

- Any reference to any totalitarian regime that justified mass killing (e.g., pro-Nazi chants).

- Any specific political act/ event.

- Any military conflict or political dispute between nations, regions, religions, or communities.

- Any specific ethnic or indigenous communities, or perceived discrimination by one community against another.

Religious:

- A religion, spiritual practice, or related significant figure, except as indicated below.

- Anything critical of or hostile to others' religious or spiritual beliefs.

N.B.:

- Private, non-proselytising religious gestures, such as pointing to the sky or crossing oneself, shall not be considered prohibited religious statements.

- Article 12.2.1.n will not be used to sanction individuals who display religious symbols or wear prescribed religious clothing/ornaments, unless they include prohibited statements or comments of the kind mentioned above.

Personal:

- Any circumstance personal to the participant. Competitors must not use events as a platform to share personal statements of any kind in violation of the general principle of neutrality.

Seeking approval under Article 12.2.1.n of the ISC

• On an exceptional and case-by-case basis, the FIA may authorise a participant to make a statement at an International Competition that would otherwise be prohibited by Article 12.2.1.n.

• Anyone seeking the permission of the FIA as per Article 12.2.1.n. of the ISC must submit a written request to the FIA, providing reason(s) why such permission should be granted.

• Such request must be received at least four weeks before the event concerned. Late requests will only be considered by the FIA on an exceptional basis.

• Please be advised that:

- approval, if granted, shall only last for the duration of a specified race/event, after which it will automatically expire; and

- there shall be no right of appeal against the FIA's decision to approve or reject an Article 12.2.1.n request.

• If the participant wants to make the statement or comment at a National Competition, they should seek the permission of the relevant ASN.

What happens if a participant does not comply with Article 12.2.1.n?

Anyone who is aware of a potential breach of Article 12.2.1.n should notify the Race Director (if appointed) or otherwise the Clerk of the Course. They in turn may report the matter to the Stewards. Where breach of Article 12.2.1.n is established, the Stewards may impose any of the penalties listed under Article 12.4.1 of the ISC.

Alleged violations of the ethical principles contained in the FIA regulations (e.g., Article 3.1 of the FIA Code of Ethics, which provides that "the FIA Parties and Third Parties shall work to maintain harmonious relations with national authorities, in accordance with the principle of universality and of political neutrality of the FIA") may also be reported through the FIA Ethics and Compliance Hotline (available at http://www.fia-ethicsline.com/). All reports will be duly assessed, and any wrongdoing will be addressed in accordance with FIA regulations.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 20/02/2023 1:47

"@Ricardo-Sanchez...some serious allegations there. Looking forward to your posting some facts to support your claims. What is a fact is that recently an apparently decent young black chap was savagely beaten by five police following a minor infringement and he subsequently died a few days later. Normally America would be in flames by now but strangely it all seems to be very quiet and one particular F1 driver has not mentioned it at all, publically, AFAIK. One has to ask the obvious question....."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Ricardo_sanchez, 19/02/2023 18:18

"I doubt that racism amongst F1 fans is a greater problem than it is in the general population (in fact it’s likely to be less prevalent, I suspect). However, it certainly exists. It even exists in the comments section on this site, where I’ve seen words to effect that racism is just one of those things that is part of life, impossible to eradicate and so we can’t and shouldn’t worry about addressing it! On that evidence, promoting equality of opportunity and inclusivity is most definitely still needed. And doing so is hardly a “political” act, unless your political views embrace racial prejudice and bigotry. "

Rating: Negative (-2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Wokingchap, 18/02/2023 11:00

"Although i had a good laugh at these comments I agree with the FIA and Kenji on this. Can't wait for season start."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Editor, 18/02/2023 8:21

"Please note that under our new, hastily agreed, new rules...

Potentially controversial posts, like that of Bill Hopgood's below, will need to be submitted four weeks in advance for approval."

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by kenji, 18/02/2023 1:19

"I fully agree with the FIA's determination. Now to see who is the first to test the waters!!! Smashed headphones and all."

Rating: Negative (-3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Defiant, 17/02/2023 20:12

"This principle also aims to prevent participants from being placed in a position where they may be forced to take a public position on a particular domestic or international issue when they would prefer not to do so.

You mean like Nikita Mazapin??

- Any military conflict or political dispute between nations, regions, religions, or communities.

hmmmm, pretty sure Nikita also promised to remain neutral on that too. Was even prepared to not use his nations flag.

Now I've got that off my chest, I should add, I think Nikita should have been canned from F1 for his performance. He was only there because of daddy's money, much like young crash in AM.

Also, great post Bill Hopgood. I agree with you on that too.
"

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 17/02/2023 19:01

"Hands up who wants to be a Race Steward or Race Director or Clerk of Course now?

And there was me thinking the folks in those positions were there to ensure fair RACING.

What constitutes "political", "religious" or "personal"?

It is the responsibility of the Stewards to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a statement or comment - whether in the form of an image, symbol, gesture, words, or actions - is in breach of Article 12.2.1.n of the ISC. To aid the Stewards in making such determinations, the FIA has prepared a non-exhaustive list of potential scenarios that could be prohibited under Article 12.2.1.n. However, this list is intended to be illustrative only, and Stewards will carefully assess the specific circumstances of each potential contravention when determining whether a breach of the rules has occurred.

Here's a tricky one:
"Any specific ethnic or indigenous communities, or perceived discrimination by one community against another."

Perception?

And then there is the bollocks (sorry Ed) of four weeks advance notice to put an application in to be exempt from 12.2.1.n.
I don't know about others but I've found the future the hardest thing to predict.

Personally, I just want there to be awesome racing, watching the best do what they do best and not be barraged by this and that from the drivers "with a platform", however, the FIA allowed the commercial rights holder and teams to splatter "we race as one" and rainbows (not pink unicorns though) all over the cars, drives, and tracks insinuating that all of us that watch this "sport" have some kind of racist streak a mile long.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black as the old saying goes (sorry Ed if one can't say that sort of thing anymore)."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Burton, 17/02/2023 18:32

"Same as it has always been, then."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by KKK, 17/02/2023 18:12

"Sorry fell Sleep after the first 500 words."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms