Formula 1: Column on Hamilton Saudi Arabia becomes a character test

Saudi Arabia becomes Hamilton’s character test

Column by Formula 1 reporter Ralf Bach on Lewis Hamilton’s behavior around the race in Saudi Arabia

Nafter the clear political statement by Sebastian Vettel (33) in Turkey, Lewis Hamilton (35) is now responsible. Background: Vettel drove with a special design that should convey a clear message. Where else a black, red and gold tail adorned the helmet in memory of his homeland, in Istanbul it had the colors of a rainbow – the worldwide symbol for equality and equal treatment in every respect. To make this even clearer, the lower part of the helmet was decorated with drawings of men and women from all over the world.

Vettel made it clear: “Yes, it’s a statement. There are differences in appearance, but the important thing is not to make a difference. I don’t want someone to be put in a box from the start just because of their looks. I wanted to set an example here in Turkey in particular. ”Background: Since taking office in 2001, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has systematically restricted democratic and constitutional standards. Including freedom of the press.

Saudi Arabia becomes Hamilton's character test

If Hamilton continues after his seventh world title, he should not compete in Saudi Arabia.

© LAT / Mercedes

Alone: ​​The Formula 1 makers from US rights holder Liberty Media and the FIA ​​automotive authority should not like the fact that after Hamilton, the second leader in the scene has now become political. Because managers and officials only appear liberal on the outside. They support Lewis Hamilton’s “Black Lives Matter” campaign in Formula 1 with their own slogan “WeRaceAsOne”. And yet his political streak provokes again and again discussions – like after the Tuscany GP, when Hamilton refused to take off his T-shirt with the inscription “Lock the police who killed Breonna Taylor” on the winners podium. Hamilton only went unpunished for fear of the external impact.

The superstar of the scene in particular will face a difficult character test next year. Especially since he made it clear again on the sidelines of the Turkey race: “My work for equality in the world is more important to me than my sporting successes.”

The first Formula 1 race, which is to take place in Saudi Arabia in November 2021, will be the new test. Amnesty International has therefore already raised serious allegations: “Formula 1 should be aware that a Saudi Grand Prix in 2021 is part of an ongoing plan to wash away the catastrophic human rights situation,” it said.

The country, which stands far when it comes to violating human rights, convinced the F1 makers with other arguments. It is said on the radio that the Saudis should use Formula 1 as a soul-washing facility – every year. Overall, the multi-year deal is worth $ 900 million.

I mean: If Hamilton continues after his seventh world title, he should not compete there. He would have to take his idol Muhammad Ali as an example. In 1967 he refused to do military service in Vietnam on the grounds: “No Vietnamese has ever called me a nigger. I don’t fight against people who haven’t harmed me. ”Ali was stripped of his title of heavyweight world champion, and he even risked a prison sentence for his values.

Hamilton once told me: “Ali is my role model, he was the greatest athlete. He renounced his career because his faith and the truth were more important to him. ”The Briton must now prove by 2021 at the latest whether he is as serious about his values ​​as his role model Muhammad Ali. That should then be more exciting than the sporting course of the World Cup.


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