Formula 1’s pre-race End Racism recognition will look slightly different in 2021 as the sport seeks to focus attention all aspects of its ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative.
Last year saw the introduction of the ceremony which included all drivers wearing ‘end racism’ T-shirts and appearing in a pre-race video pledging their commitment to tackling racism.
This year, drivers will continue to congregate at the front of the grid prior to the race on a ‘WeRaceAsOne’ banner. The rainbow logo used previously will no longer feature.
Last year a majority of drivers chose to ‘take a knee’ at this point. Whether anyone continues to do so, or makes any other kind of gesture, remains a choice for each individual and is not required by the championship.
Formula 1 is keen to focus attention on the full breadth of the ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative, including equality and diversity, but also other social issues including sustainability and community.
“The whole of Formula 1 is united in its support for ‘WeRaceAsOne’ and the drivers will all show their own support for the initiative ahead of the grand prix,” said an F1 spokesperson. “The drivers will be free to show their commitment in their own way before the race and there will be no requirement for them to make a specific gesture.
“The important thing is all of them being together in full support of our initiatives on sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and community.”
New F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali discussed the changes to the pre-race recognition with drivers and teams in Bahrain.
World champion Lewis Hamilton, a passionate advocate of improving diversity in Formula 1, said earlier this year he wants a greater focus on action over gestures on the matter of equality and tackling racism.
“I don’t think it’s the most important thing that everyone does and takes the knee,” he said. “I think it’s more the action that we take in the background.
“What’s really important is that as things pass and things die down, it’s important to continue. It continues to be an issue that that affects my day-to-day life and so many people out there.
“It’s really important just to continue having that conversation, going back to that accountability thing, really continuing to hold uncomfortable conversations with people. Because change is possible and change is needed.
“So we’ll see how we can collectively work together to make sure we’re leading more in this sport and not necessarily having to be taking a knee.”
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and