On July 5, Formula 1 pilots held an action against racism before the start of the Austrian Grand Prix. All 20 riders took to the starting grid in T-shirts with the slogan against racism, and some of them kneeled. This is a well-known gesture against the oppression of African Americans and police violence, which was invented by former NFL player Colin Kapernik in 2016 , and other athletes have already followed.
14 Formula 1 pilots repeated the gesture, but six remained standing. Among those who did not kneel: Ferrari pilot Charles Leclair, Max Ferstappen (Red Bull), Daniel Quat (Alfa Tauri), Carlos Sainz (McLaren), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo “) And Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo).
Some of those who did not kneel showed on the t-shirts “End to Racism” during the broadcast.
One cause. One commitment.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 5, 2020
All six are Europeans. Australian Renault driver Daniel Riccardo initially stated that all Grand Prix participants can express their support for the Black Lives Matter in the way they choose. Lewis Hamilton also noted that pilots who decide not to make a “Marquee gesture” will not be criticized.
The difficulty is how the gesture will be perceived in the countries that some riders represent. There is no policy here, there is simply a line that concerns the perception of the gesture by people of different nationalities.
We have listened to all opinions and are not going to endanger anyone – everyone will do what they consider appropriate. No one will be judged or criticized for the fact that he acted in a certain way or did not stand on one knee.
Formula 1 pilot
Lehler and Verstappen commented on their actions on social networks even before entering the race, explaining why they are not going to kneel. Daniil Kvyat did not comment on his decision.
I believe that facts and behavior in everyday life matter more than formal gestures, which in some countries can be perceived ambiguously. I will not get on one knee, however this does not mean that I am less ready to fight racism than the rest
I believe that what matters are facts and behaviours in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries. I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.
— Charles Leclerc (@Charles_Leclerc) July 5, 2020
I am for equality and the fight against racism. But I believe that everyone has the right to self-expression in the way that suits him. Today I will not kneel, but respect and support the decision of each rider
I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacism
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 5, 2020