Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner backed the FIA’s ban on political statements, saying Formula 1 was “a form of escapism from the s–t going on in the world.”
The longtime team principal told The Post he doesn’t believe F1 should be used as a platform “for political gain,” after the sport’s governing body announced that drivers would be prohibited from making political statements during race weekends.
“F1 is not a political sport and it shouldn’t be used politically,” he said ahead of Red Bull’s season launch in New York City.
“We’re a sport; we’re a form of entertainment and a form of escapism from some of the s–t going on in the world.”
Horner, 49, noted that the FIA plays “an important role in the regulation of the sport,” and he believes “there will always be freedom of expression and freedom of speech.”
“We’ve always given the drivers the ability to speak their minds,” he said.
Under the current sporting code, drivers will be banned from “the general making and display of political, religious or personal statements,” unless permission is granted beforehand, the FIA announced in December.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and recently retired Sebastian Vettel have been two of the most outspoken drivers on environmental causes, the Black Lives Matter movement, and human rights violations against the LGBTQ+ community, among other issues.
However, several other drivers have also spoken out against the new rule, including Williams Racing’s Alex Albon.
“We know politics and stances are sensitive areas but we need clarity from the FIA on what they are trying to tell us,” he told reporters at the Williams season launch this week, per The Guardian.
“We need to be able to speak freely to some extent. A lot of people look to us as spokespeople for issues around the world, and I do feel it is a responsibility for drivers to make people aware of these kind of situations.”
F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali also appeared to oppose the ban when he insisted the sport “will never put a gag on anyone.”
“We have a huge opportunity because of the position of our sport which is more and more global, multicultural and multivalued,” he told The Guardian Tuesday.
“We are talking about 20 drivers, 10 teams and many sponsors, they have different ideas, different views. I cannot say one is right, one is wrong but it is right, if needed, to give them a platform to discuss their opinions in an open way.”
The 2023 Formula 1 season kicks off with the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5.