F1 drivers discussing plans to ‘take a knee’ at Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday

Black Lives Matter

Lando Norris said a number of Formula One drivers have discussed taking a knee at the first race of the season in Austria on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton, the six-times world champion, has been vocal about the Black Lives Matter movement and attended an anti-racism march in London earlier this month. Hamilton’s Mercedes team have adopted a black livery for their cars in the fight against inequality.

Premier League players have shown their support for the BLM movement by taking a knee before kick-off and F1 drivers could choreograph a similar show of solidarity on the grid at the Red Bull Ring.

“Some of the drivers have already been speaking [about taking a knee],” Norris said. “If we are going to do it, we should all do it as a grid. It will be discussed following the briefing with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Friday. We will do whatever we can to show we care and respect everyone. We will do what is right when the time comes.”

Like Hamilton, Norris will carry the “End Racism” message on his car. The 20-year old McLaren driver recently encouraged his social media followers to sign petitions following Hamilton’s criticism of his peers for staying silent on the matter.

“I want to do better than any other driver but everyone should be given the same opportunity and treated the same,” Norris said. “It is not fair people get treated differently because of their race. This sport reaches millions and the more we can do as drivers, teams, and as a community in Formula One, the bigger impact we can have.”

The F1 season had been due to start in the middle of March before a McLaren team member fell ill with coronavirus on the eve of the opening grand prix in Melbourne.

The race was called off and the schedule ripped up. Eight races – starting with two on consecutive Sundays in Austria – are due to take place over 10 weekends, with F1 hopeful of staging 18 races before the end of the year.

The grands prix will take place behind closed doors. Face masks will be a common sight in the pit lane and all teams will be tested for Covid-19 before and during the race weekend in Spielberg. Away from the track, drivers will be largely confined to their hotels.

“I will be in a bubble, speaking to and interacting with as few people as I need to,” Norris said. “I have pretty much spent the last three months on my own so I am used to it. We will have people on standby and people on backup to jump into different roles if people fall ill. We all want to be here until the final race in December, so we will take the precautions to make sure we can continue doing our job.”

The Guardian

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