F1 to move away from knee gesture ceremony in 2022
Since the start of the 2020 campaign, F1 has set aside specific time during pre-race preparation for drivers to take a knee or any other gesture they wish.
However, while F1 will continue to release a pre-race #WRAO video and the brand will remain on the circuits, the regular timed ceremony has now been scrapped.
Drivers will, however, still be free to make any move they wish at their own pace.
Speaking about the decision, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali told Sky F1: “We must not play politics.
“But I think now it’s about action to action. Now action is the focus on diversity in our community. And that’s the first step.”
Domenicali said a final decision on this has been made and he believes the pre-race ceremony that has taken place over the past two seasons has served its purpose well.
“I think the gesture was already significant for those who believed it was a significant gesture,” he said.
“We have to respect everyone as always, but now is the time to move on and take some other action.”
Sky F1 reported that Lewis Hamilton, who has been pushing for diversity, has been briefed on the plans.
Drivers including Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 taking a knee
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Reflecting on Hamilton’s return to the public spotlight, having posted on social media this weekend for the first time since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Domenicali felt the Mercedes driver would be motivated for 2022.
“From what I know and see, I saw the last photo of Lewis with the right positivity in his face and gesture,” he said.
“I think it’s important because Lewis is an incredible asset, not just to our sport but to the world. And Lewis, he has the opportunity ahead of him to be, you know, for the eighth time, champion of the world.
“I’m pretty sure he’s totally focused on that because this year there’s going to be so many new things, so many new variables, and it’s going to make these champions so attractive.
“Going back to Lewis, I’m sure he’s totally dedicated to making sure he can really have his shot at being world champion for the eighth time.”
Asked if he was worried Hamilton wouldn’t return, he said: “The discussion or what’s happened in the last two weeks, that’s part of the normal things we do.
“There was kind of a total respect or what his choice was to be in silent mode. And I think his battery will be fully charged for the start of the season.”
As part of the actions it is taking to improve diversity, F1 on Tuesday extended its commitment to its engineering scholarship scheme for underrepresented groups.
After being created with a $1million donation from former F1 CEO Chase Carey, F1 agreed to extend it by four years until the end of 2025.
So far, the program has successfully supported 10 students who have started work placements at universities in the UK and Italy.
F1 also seeks to provide employment opportunities by offering apprenticeships and internships across its business.