Lewis Hamilton has been banned from wearing a Breonna Taylor t-shirt - here’s why

Monday, 28th September 2020, 12:25 pm
Updated Monday, 28th September 2020, 12:26 pm
Hamilton pictured in the controversial t-shirt (Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Hamilton pictured in the controversial t-shirt (Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Formula One’s governing body has set out new rules banning drivers from wearing any campaigning t-shirts during pre and post-race occasions on a Grand Prix weekend.

The decision comes after Lewis Hamilton wore a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Arrest the cops that killed Breonna Taylor’ on the front, and a picture of the medical worker who was shot by US police on the back, along with the words with ‘Say her name’, before and after his victory at the Tuscan Grand Prix.

What are the new rules?

In the aftermath of the Tuscan Grand Prix, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) announced that it would launch an investigation into the six time World Champion’s actions.

Two days later, the FIA announced that it would not launch the investigation, having considered the matter, and would instead issue clarified guidelines about pre and post-race activities to drivers.

The new rules were announced ahead of Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix and stated, “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 avoidance of doubt this includes a medical face mask or team branded face mask."

The new rules also apply to post-race TV interviews and the FIA post-race press conferences, where drivers must remain in their respective teams’ uniforms only.

Currently, before a race starts, all drivers are required to wear a t-shirt with the ‘End Racism’ message in the pre-race activity before the national anthem.

What was Hamilton’s response?

Hamilton, who is the sport’s only black driver, said on 24 September that he would not stop campaigning for racial equality and using his platform to raise awareness of issues close to his heart.

However, he recognised that the FIA has “certain limits that they feel they have to work within.”

The 35 year old said, "People do talk about sport not being a place for politics. Ultimately it's human rights issues and in my opinion that is something we should be pushing towards.

"Lots of rules have been written for me over the years and that hasn't stopped me."