Lewis Hamilton and F1 drivers urged to fight free speech ban after FIA announce new rules following protests last season

LEWIS HAMILTON and his fellow Formula One stars have been urged to fight against new laws limiting free speech.

F1‘s governing body, the FIA, have introduced new rules into the sport which limit the ability for those in the sport to express themselves.

Lewis Hamilton has been urged to keep speaking out despite new rulesGetty

GettyThe likes of Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have been outspoken on social issues in the past[/caption]

The new doctrine states participants cannot make or display “political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality… unless previously approved in writing by the FIA.”

It comes following the World Cup, which was marred by political controversy as Fifa declared they would sanction political gestures, such as the “One Love” armbands, in Qatar.

But F1 drivers have been urged to rebel against the “brutal” and “hypocritical” rules that have been brought in.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Rob Koehler, chief executive of Global Athlete, said: “Without athletes, the sport does not exist.

“It is blatantly hypocritical to tell athletes to stick to their sports and stay out of politics while the FIA consistently leverages politics to their advantage.”

Hamilton, along with the now-retired Sebastian Vettel, has been one driver who has remained an outspoken voice on political issues both outside and inside of F1.

And Koehler added: “Freedom of expression is a basic fundamental human right and sport rules cannot supersede human rights.

“Many people look up to athletes as agents of change.

“The example set by the FIA is that every child, youth and adult watching the sport should remain silent on social justice issues.

“It is simply wrong. Shame on the FIA.

“Athletes are humans first, athletes second.

“It is also clear that the FIA is taking a page out of Fifa’s playbook to silence athletes.”

The FIA explained the change to Article 12.2.1 of the sporting code was done “to align itself to the practices of other similar international sports organisations such as Fifa, IOC and Fiba on the matter of neutrality.”

Koehler slammed the move, saying: “In 2020, athletes took a stand against the IOC and IPC to force them to relax their rules on freedom of expression.

“I hope the drivers do the same. This is brutal.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton previously wore a shirt that read “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” in 2020, and has remained outspoken on a variety of social issues.

Likewise, Vettel highlighted issues such as LGBTQ+ rights and Climate Change prior to his retirement.

After initially promoting the taking of the knee and the “We Race As One” slogan, F1 ditched the knee gesture at the start of 2022 with president Stefano Domenicali declaring “action” rather than “gestures” were needed.

The new move from F1 has also been slammed online, with SunSport’s Ben Hunt declaring: “Outlawing freedom of speech is not progress.”

A jewellery ban introduced by the FIA earlier this season also saw them come under fire.