In the round-up: FIA’s political crackdown veers close to restricting human rights, an organisation representing athletes claims.
Athletes body calls out FIA for restricting competitor freedoms
Global Athlete, an international movement led by sportspeople, has called the FIA’s new restriction on motorsport competitors making political statements “absurd” and said the governing body “must not” limit drivers’ human rights.
“Without athletes, the sport does not exist. It is blatantly hypocritical to tell athletes to stick to their sports and stay out of politics while the FIA consistently leverage politics to their advantage,” said Rob Koehler, Global Athlete’s director general, said in a statement to RaceFans.
“Freedom of expression is a basic fundamental human right and sport rules cannot supersede human rights. Many people look up to athletes as agents of change. The example set by the FIA is that every child, youth and adult watching the sport should remain silent on social justice issues. It is simply wrong. Shame on the FIA. Athletes are humans first, athletes second.
“Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference’. Sport rules must not have the ability to limit that right. What’s next, will they take away drivers’ rights to vote? It’s totally absurd.”
Football’s global governing FIFA and the Olympic committees have previously made moves to restrict political activity by competitors during events. Koehler said he hopes “drivers do the same” as Olympic athletes who made stances that led to the loosening of such rules.
Schumacher and Vettel reunite for RoC
Mick Schumacher has been announced as the latest entry for the 2023 Race of Champions, meaning he will form Team Germany alongside Sebastian Vettel once again for the event’s Nations’ Cup.
The pair first teamed up in 2019, after Vettel had previously partnered with Mick’s father Michael for six successive Nations’ Cup wins from 2007-’12, then did so again when the event returned in February of this year on the snow and ice of Sweden.
Vettel was ROC runner-up, then the pair were knocked out in the quarter-final stage of the Nations’ Cup. Their opposition next year, in Sweden once more, includes Finland’s Valtteri Bottas Valtteri Bottas and Mika Hakkinen, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen and Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich.
Carlin praises impact of F1 Academy already
F1 Academy, the new Formula 4 series exclusively for women that launches next year, is already having an impact according to Carlin’s deputy team principal Stephanie Carlin.
“F1 Academy has already done more for women in motorsport in the last month, than has been the case for the last ten years,” she said.
“For the first time, the top teams in junior motorsport are speaking exclusively with women drivers about races, test programmes and driver development.
“These are the converations that happen with leading junior rivers every season. However, due to the underrepresentation of women in the sport, these are almost always conversations exclusively with men. As preparations for F1 Academy now start to gather pace, there has already been so much progress and positive momentum.”
IndyCar to disappear from iRacing
The existence of the as-yet-unmade IndyCar video game from Motorsport Games and the exclusivity contract it has signed with the series has led to the iRacing simulator software platform losing its licence to use IndyCar content.
Every iteration of IndyCar’s evolving Dallara chassis has been made available on the software and 12 of the 16 circuits that featured on the 2022 calendar can be raced on. The current-spec car will still be usable within iRacing, but with all IndyCar-branded content removed and no Esports races using Indy cars or Indy Lights cars are allowed to be broadcast online.
IndyCar previously held the IndyCar iRacing Challenge was an IndyCar-sanctioned Esports series in 2020 and 2021, and iRacing also hosts the official virtual Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar’s official Esports series.
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On this day in motorsport
- 60 years ago today Trevor Taylor won the non-championship Natal Grand Prix at the Westmead circuit in South Africa, six seconds ahead of Jim Clark