Formula One drivers allowed to take the knee before races again this season

Drivers taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement
Drivers taking a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement (PA Wire)
17:31pm, Tue 23 Mar 2021
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Lewis Hamilton and his fellow drivers will be allowed to take the knee before races this season.

Ahead of Sunday’s curtain raiser in Bahrain, Formula One bosses confirmed there would continue to be a moment of reflection, with a slot dedicated prior to each of the scheduled 23 grands prix.

But it is understood the period will not be solely dedicated to anti-racism.

Drivers wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the 2020 British Grand Prix (PA Archive)

Instead the sport will promote its WeRaceAsOne initiative, which focuses on sustainability, diversity, inclusion and community.

Unlike last year, it will not be mandatory for the drivers to wear End Racism T-shirts.

The announcement comes after the drivers met with F1’s new boss Stefano Domenicali in Bahrain earlier this month.

Last year, seven-time world champion Hamilton and the majority of the grid knelt in a staged message highlighting the fight against racism before all of last season’s grands prix.

But the gesture proved divisive with a number of the 20 drivers, including Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, electing to stand.

An F1 spokesperson said on Tuesday: “The whole of Formula One is united in its support for WeRaceAsOne and the drivers will all show their own support for the initiative ahead of the grand prix.

“The drivers will be free to show their commitment in their own way before the race and there will be no requirement for them to make a specific gesture.

“The important thing is all of them being together in full support of our initiatives on sustainability, diversity and inclusion and community.”

Hamilton has been critical of the lack of diversity within the sport.

The 36-year-old Briton remains F1’s sole black driver. The Mercedes driver is this season bidding to win an unprecedented eighth title.

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