Formula One has now made sure drivers can show support for an ‘End Racism’ campaign without being rushed before the start of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The sport was criticised by Mercedes’ six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, the only Black driver of F1, for failing to schedule a time for a united protest at the previous race in Hungary – see the latest report here.
All the drivers made a gesture as part of the programme at the Austrian season-opener, with Hamilton taking a knee and wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt, but no time was set aside at the next two races.
Formula One F1 - Austrian Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria - July 5, 2020 Drivers on the grid kneel down wearing an anti-racism T-shirt before the race. Image credit Joe Klamar/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Race director Michael Masi issued a summary of planned procedures just yesterday to make sure that all 20 drivers had time to gather if they wished to, even if the race is being held without spectators due to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Drivers will be alerted by a “beep” on the PA system to walk to the front of the grid where an ‘End Racism’ banner will be placed across the track to be visible and well displayed by the cameras.
An announcement will then state that “Formula One and the FIA will take this moment, in recognition of the importance of equality and equal opportunity for all.”
The drivers can choose their gesture of support if they wish to be present.
Hamilton and Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) director Romain Grosjean have said they hope all drivers will be united in taking a knee by the end of the season after a very fruitful conversation they had to clear the air.
Drivers will be alerted by a beep on the PA system to walk to the front of the grid where an ‘End Racism’ banner will be placed across the track. Image credit REUTERS
The gesture will conclude after about 30 seconds with a further announcement saying “Thank you for this statement of support to end racism in the world” before the national anthem is played.
There will also be a minute’s applause on the grid and around the circuit for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) and a flyover by a World War Two Spitfire fighter plane.
Everything seems to be ready and in support of the BLM movement, thanks to the ongoing pressures and requests that the only one F1 black driver made to spread change among such a followed sport such as F1.