McLaren’s Lando Norris expects Formula One’s governing body to make a U-turn on a new rule change requiring drivers to get prior written permission before speaking out on “political" issues at races.
Speaking to reporters at the launch of the team’s 2023 car on Monday, Norris said drivers should be able to say what they wanted and to speak out on issues they believed in.
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“I feel like there has been quite a bit of pressure and enough said to maybe make a little bit of a U-turn," said the 23-year-old Briton, who has spoken out in the past about mental health issues.
“We are not in a school, we shouldn’t have to ask about everything and say ’can we do this, can we do that?’. I think we are grown up enough to try and make smart decisions.
“Maybe sometimes people make silly decisions but that happens in life. I think enough drivers have said things now to push back a little bit," he added, saying he would be prepared also to pay a token fine.
Driver free speech has been a big topic of conversation in the pre-season period, with a stream of drivers speaking out against any clampdown as their teams launch new cars and liveries.
Formula One chief executive Stefano Domenicali assured them this month that the commercial rights holder will never seek to gag anyone.
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The FIA updated its International Sporting Code last December with a clause requiring prior written permission for drivers to make or display ”political, religious and personal statements or comments” at races.
Since then, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has told Formula One team bosses he will step back from the day-to-day running of the sport and leave it in the hands of professional managers.
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