In your July issue, the editor reports that the last time he questioned the wisdom of holding races in countries with poor human rights records, some readers had told him that your magazine ‘should stay out of questions of social justice’. It’s naive to think politics and sport don’t mix; who believes Vladimir Putin’s appearances at Sochi reflect an interest in Formula 1?
Politics also featured in motor sport in June when, after the death of George Floyd, Lewis Hamilton showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Few would disagree that it is laudable for Hamilton to make his support known. But I do wonder how Hamilton reconciles this with his deafening silence over participating in grands prix in countries with poor human rights records. In 2018, two days before practice began for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, British student Matthew Hedges was sentenced by a Dubai court to life imprisonment after a ‘trial’ lasting five minutes. Did we hear a word of concern from the F1 community? Not a whisper.
Perhaps the possible ‘recalibration’ triggered by the pandemic might prompt F1 into mulling factors other than the race fee when selecting future race venues?
John Aston, Norby, Thirsk
Letter from Europe
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