Drama continues to build in Formula 1 ahead of the 2023 season, and Toto Wolff is taking pre-emptive action in a bid to ensure Lewis Hamilton sees as much time on track as possible. Mercedes‘ team principal has said he’d like to arrange a sit-down between Lewis Hamilton and the FIA out of concern that new laws on ‘political statements’ could see the seven-time world champion suspended.
The FIA attracted plenty of criticism in December when it was announced drivers would face penalties and suspensions if they made any ‘political, religious or personal statements’ without its approval. Drivers like Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have in the past used their appearances on the grid to raise awareness around LGBTQ+ rights, climate change and the Black Lives Matter movement, to name a few subjects.
Hamilton, 38, is coming off the back of his worst F1 season to date having finished sixth in 2022, but there’s hope an improved Mercedes design could land him an elusive, record-breaking eighth F1 title this term. That crusade would be stunted were he to miss race time due to protesting, however, an outcome the Silver Arrows’ chief is hoping to avoid.
“We need to see how this really pans out. We understand that sport is not here to mix with politics but on the contrary and to unite,” said Wolff, per The Sun. “I have no doubt [FIA president] Mohammed [Ben Sulayem] and the FIA mean well and want to achieve the right things.