Norris predicts FIA freedom of speech U-turn – ‘We’re not schoolkids’
By Ian Parkes
Tuesday 14th February, 2023 - 7:00am
Lando Norris believes the FIA will perform a U-turn on its decision to silence the F1 drivers from speaking their minds.
Motorsport’s world governing body caused an uproar in December when it announced an update to its International Sporting Code.
It has now stated a written submission is required from the drivers should they wish to make any political, religious or personal statements in future.
The move has been criticised by a number of drivers so far whilst F1 CEO and President Stefano Domenicali stated his organisation would never gag anyone.
In one of the strongest statements so far, Norris has declared himself willing to pay a fine in order to continue to speak out on certain subjects.
The McLaren driver, however, speaking at the launch of his team’s 2023 challenger, the MCL60, is confident the FIA will backtrack to a certain degree.
“I don’t know what the penalty is,” said Norris, addressing invited media, including Speedcafe.com.
“If it’s a fine or something, I’m probably happy to break it [the ban]. If it’s a bit more, then not.
“But it depends because there are times when there will be things we want to say, which maybe they won’t allow, whether it be a positive thing for whatever that circumstance is.
“I don’t know 100 percent the rule, and how everything is going to happen but I feel like there’s been quite a bit of pressure and enough said to maybe make a little bit of a U-turn.”
Norris confident of smart driver decisions
Norris added: “But I think F1 has made things clear on what they think is acceptable and what we should be able to do as drivers. I guess that’s what I stand by.
“We should be able to say what we want and what we believe in. We’re not in a school, we shouldn’t have to ask about everything and say ‘Can we do this? Can we do that?’
“I think we’re grown up enough to try and make smarter decisions.
“Maybe sometimes people make silly decisions, but that happens in life.
“I think there are enough drivers who have said things now to push back a little bit.”
Norris warns drivers could become robots
The 23-year-old feels it is crucial the FIA does backtrack on its decision, warning of future consequences.
“We’re only wanting to do things for the best, not use it in any wrongdoing way.
“We’re doing it because we have a lot of fans, millions of fans, millions of viewers who we want to influence, guide and help them personally.
“So we should have freedom of speech. We should be able to say and do what we want. That’s what defines people, it’s what creates us, it’s what makes us human.
“It is better when, as a community, as Formula 1, we come forward and as a group, we give statements and so on.
“But drivers should be able to have our own say in anything at the same time.
“As long as we have freedom of speech, and that’s something Formula 1 is supportive of, then I’m happy.
“But if things start to get blocked off, and we can’t even talk or say anything, then no one’s going want to do media or anything.
“We’re just going to turn into a robot and say the same things over and over again.
“We’re only trying to help people in the world, give advice, and so on, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do that.”
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