Russell ‘shocked’ if FIA stand firm on ‘silly gag regulation’

Mercedes driver George Russell has criticised "a silly regulation"

Mercedes driver George Russell has criticised “a silly regulation”

George Russell has claimed he will be “shocked” if the FIA ‘do not roll back’ on silencing the F1 drivers’ freedom of speech.

The hot topic of Formula 1’s off-season has been an addition made to the FIA’s International Sporting Code.

Motorsport’s world governing body has now determined any driver wishing to make a political, religious, or personal comment or statement now has to initially seek permission to do so in writing.

Mercedes driver Russell has described this addition to the ISC as “a silly regulation”.

Russell, who is also a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, is the latest to condemn the FIA’s move.

“I’m not too sure why the FIA has taken a stance like this,” said Russell, speaking at the launch of Mercedes’ W14 2023 challenger.

“I think it’s totally unnecessary in the sport and in the world we live in at the moment

“Naturally we are now obviously seeking clarification and I trust it will be resolved.

“I’d like to think it’s been some kind of misunderstanding but I’m not too sure.”

Russell expects FIA resolution before first GP

Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton has already stated he will continue to speak his mind.

Echoing Hamilton’s comments, Russell added: “We’re not going to limit our views or our thoughts because of some silly regulation. We’re all here to have free speech and share whatever views we may have.

“I’m sure the situation is going to be clarified and I hope and trust it will be resolved before the first race.

“I can’t imagine they want to restrict any of us from any of our views.

“This is part of freedom of speech and we have our right to share our views across whatever platform we wish, so I don’t see this being a concern moving forward.”

A meeting of the F1 Commission is due to take place next week at which FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem is expected to come under pressure to reverse the ruling.

“I’ll be shocked if the FIA don’t roll back on it,” stated Russell.

“I don’t really understand the reasoning for bringing this regulation, or whatever you want to call it, into play.

“We live in a world of free speech and if anybody wants to share their thoughts or views, then you have the right to do so.”

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