The FIA recently clarified that Lewis Hamilton will need to obtain permission from them before wearing his rainbow helmet in the 2023 F1 Qatar GP. The new amendment imposed by the FIA that curbs drivers from freely speaking about political and global issues has affected the seven-time world champion the most. He has spoken out against racism, gender inequality, and other global problems on several race weekends in the past.

However, he now has to secure permission from F1’s governing body to talk about or even represent these issues. Hamilton’s helmet has been quite famous in the F1 community as the Briton has constantly changed its design to express his views. Unfortunately, he now has to comply with the FIA’s new rule before wearing helmets with special designs.

According to Autosport, the governing body has clearly stated that Lewis Hamilton needs to seek permission to wear the rainbow helmet in the 2023 F1 Qatar GP. If he fails to do so, he will essentially breach Article 12.2.1.n, which contains the new rule that disallows drivers from making any political statement without permission.

FIA provides clarification on political ban rule ahead of the 2023 F1 season

On Friday, the FIA distributed a document to all F1 teams titled Guidance on the Principle of Neutrality (Article 12.2.1.n of the ISC). In this document, the governing body explains all the changes brought to the article, especially regarding the ban on political statements.

The document clarifies that drivers can speak freely on political, religious, and personal matters during a race weekend, but only under certain times and circumstances. This means that drivers are not allowed to make any political statements during race weekend sessions, interviews, driver press conferences, podiums, or driver parades. Part of the document clarifying the new rule states:

“[The drivers are free to] 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. Participants are not permitted to make political, religious, and/or personal statements in violation of the general principle of neutrality during [the] FIA press conferences (except in response to direct questions from accredited journalists).”

The document further states that drivers need to obtain written permission from the FIA or the relevant ASN (Autorité Sportive Nationale – National Sporting Authority) to speak freely or display their political and religious views.

“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.”

In conclusion, F1 drivers and even teams will have to comply with these rules and only express their views on global issues under certain circumstances or at certain times. However, since most drivers are seemingly against the rule, we might see some changes made to it in the future.