Athletes across the sporting world have been kneeling before competitions for years now to bring attention to police brutality and race inequality, and most Formula 1 drivers weren’t any different, kneeling before races the past two seasons. This year, though, that appears to be coming to an end.
Why? Well, F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali simply thinks it’s time to “move on,” according to The Guardian. F1 previously had a time slot in the schedule before races for the gesture but in 2022 it won’t any longer:
The sport has instead vowed to build on the impact of the gesture – announcing on Tuesday that it will extend its funding commitment to the Formula One engineering scholarship programme for underrepresented groups until 2025 – and will carry on screening an anti-racism message before every race. F1’s “We Race As One” branding will also be visible at each round.
“The [knee] gesture was important for the ones that believed that was an important gesture, because we need to respect everyone,” F1’s chief executive Stefano Domenicali told Sky Sports. “But now is the time to move on and take some other action. The action is the focus on the diversity of our community, and this is the first step.”
Hamilton, the sport’s only black driver, has been outspoken on the importance of taking a knee in the fight for equality. It is understood that the 37-year-old – who all but confirmed he will return to the grid after recently ending his social media silence following last year’s controversial decider in Abu Dhabi – will still be allowed to kneel at another stage before the start of the race, possibly by his car.
In F1, where drivers tend to be privileged children, it was sort of surprising that a majority of the drivers chose to take a knee at all, given that many of them agreed with Max Verstappen, who said that he agreed that racism was bad but also felt that everyone has the right to express themselves how they want, which meant he would stand. Now that F1 has moved on, they needn’t worry, though this whole episode has at least revealed which drivers are willing to do the least they can do.