F1's 'moral vacuum': Drivers urged to tackle human rights in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

F1's 'moral vacuum': Drivers urged to tackle human rights in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

Lewis Hamilton and other Formula One drivers can help steer the sport away from a 'moral vacuum' by speaking out at season-opening races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, human rights campaigners said on Tuesday.

Paul Scriven, a member of Britain's House of Lords, told a news conference organized by the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) that the sport was at a fork in the road.

"There are two roads that F1 can now take. One is a road which is a moral vacuum where the leaders and the administrators seem to going," he said. "There is another road that some drivers seem to be taking ... who understand they can use their platform and their sport not just for sport's sake but for good and for change and that they cannot ignore the human rights abuses in the country that they are driving in."

Mercedes driver Hamilton, a seven-times world champion, has used his profile to address rights abuses and racial injustice around the world.


The sport's governing body updated the sporting code last December requiring drivers to get prior written permission to make or display "political, religious and personal statements or comments."

Hamilton, who said in 2021 that Formula One cannot ignore issues in the countries it visits, has vowed to continue speaking out and other drivers have said the same.

Bahrain hosts the opening race on Sunday (March 5), with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 19.