F1: Alex Albon urges ‘clarity’ from FIA on ban on political statements

Alex Albon has called for “clarity” on the FIA’s new rule that bans Formula 1 drivers from making political statements.

The world’s motorsport governing body has updated its International Sporting Code with a new regulation that drivers will be in breach if they make or display “political, religious and personal statements … unless previously approved in writing by the FIA”.

Drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and the now-retired Sebastian Vettel have been vocal and outspoken on issues such as racial inequality, minority rights and climate change and this new rule appears to be cracking down on such protests.

And British-Thai driver Albon, ahead of his second season with Williams, told media on Monday the situation was “quite confusing” and insisted drivers must be able to “speak freely” on matters that they care about.

“Political positions are a very sensitive area, so we need clarity from the FIA ​​on what they are trying to tell us,” the 26-year-old said at the Williams 2023 car launch in Oxford.

“From a personal point of view it is quite confusing. We used to be very supportive of ‘We Race as One’ and now it seems the FIA ​​is trying to move away from that. So we need to be open to dialogue about what they’re trying to do, but obviously we need to be able to speak freely.”

In 2020, F1 launched the We Race as One campaign to fight inequality and increase sustainability.

Albon added: “With who we are and the commitment we have to our fans and people who watch Formula 1, many people look to us as spokespersons for issues around the world.

“I feel it is the responsibility of the drivers to make people aware of these situations. It’s a beast and it’s hard to see what they’re trying to say. Between Formula 1 and the FIA, it’s about bringing everything together in the same form of communication. At the moment there is some confusion.”

Alex Albon called for ‘clarity’ on new FIA rule banning Formula 1 drivers from making political statements

(William F1)

As for matters at the track ahead of the 2023 season kicking off on March 3-5 in Bahrain, Albon was cautiously optimistic in his ambition for the new season but hopes to score more points than the four he recorded last year .

“At the beginning of the year, I don’t think we will be like Haas [in 2022] and be right out of the blocks,” he predicted.

“We’ve changed the car a lot in terms of philosophy and it might take some time to understand and optimize it. Let’s see how we are in Bahrain: I don’t think we will shoot out of the blocks, but we have to be smart.

“My main goal is to see progress and improve on last year. For my part, he’s earning more points and hoping to be able to fight for the podium, but we’ll see about that.”

Williams finished bottom of the 2022 constructors’ championship – for the fourth time in five years – but have brought in James Vowles as team principal from Mercedes as they look to turn their fortunes around this year.

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