Formula One drivers are divided over whether to ‘take a knee’ before Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The topic was discussed during a meeting between all 20 drivers here in Spielberg on Friday night, but they were unable to reach a unanimous conclusion.
It is expected that some are set to adopt the stance which has become associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.
But it is also understood that a number of drivers are uneasy about performing the gesture due to the political outlook of the BLM organisation.
The teams will leave their drivers to make up their own minds on the matter, while the FIA says it is not the job of the sporting federation to instruct the drivers on what is essentially a political decision.
The differing views could leave the sport in the uncomfortable position of some drivers taking a knee and others not in the minutes before the first global event of the Covid-19 era.
Excited to be back! Let’s do this 👊🏾 pic.twitter.com/ixfVJaxRRO
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 3, 2020
All have agreed to wear End Racism t-shirts when they line up at the front of the grid for the Austrian national anthem ahead of the race. A banner displaying the same message will also be prominent.
Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been extremely vocal on the topic of racism in recent weeks, but earlier this week, he refused to confirm whether he would take a knee before the race.
His Mercedes team are racing in an all-black livery this year to send a defiant message against racism.
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I am so proud of this team, for being open eyed to the serious issue of racism and discrimination. They’ve taken steps to ensure they are being open minded, to be willing to learn from lessons past and present and working together whole heartedly for a better, more equal and inclusive future. The silver arrows has been a prominent leader for decades and this marks a new era for them also where we push for inclusion and diversity. We have much to do but I’m confident that together we can help change this sport and spark the others in the industry to follow. #BlackLivesMatter
“The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has held a number of virtual meetings with all 20 F1 drivers to agree how best to show their collective support for the fight against racism ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix,” said the GPDA in a statement published on Saturday.
“All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion and supporting F1’s commitment to these.
“Together the drivers will all show their public support for this cause on Sunday ahead of the race, recognising and respecting that each individual has the freedom to show their support for ending racism in their own way and will be free to choose how to do this ahead of the race start on Sunday.”