Kneeling in Formula One scrapped
Formula 1 World Championship CEO Stefano Domenicali announces the cancellation of kneeling formality before races begining.
Stefano Domenicali, the CEO of Formula One, has stated that drivers will no longer be allowed to take a formal knee before races, emphasizing that it is now time for "action" to improve diversity in the sport.
For the past two seasons, Britain's Lewis Hamilton and other drivers have knelt in front of every race in a display of solidarity against racism.
The designated period will be removed from F1's pre-race program for the new season, which begins in Bahrain next month.
On Tuesday, the sport confirmed that it would continue to sponsor the Formula One engineering scholarship program for underrepresented groups until 2025. It will also continue to show an anti-racism message before each race.
F1 president and chief executive Domenicali told Sky Sports: "We needed to make sure that what we did was important to show the intention of Formula One in things that were really important for the world," adding that, "I think now it's the matter of (changing) gesture to action. Now the action is the focus on the diversity of our community, and this is the first step."
It is expected that drivers will be permitted to kneel at a later point before the race, potentially by their cars.
Domenicali's comments came only days after Hamilton almost announced his return to the grid on social media, breaking his social media seclusion following last year's tumultuous title decider in Abu Dhabi.
Following Max Verstappen's championship victory, Hamilton's F1 future had been clouded in question, but he tweeted on Saturday, "I've been gone, now I'm back." Domenicali stated that there was complete respect for Hamilton's decision to be on silent mode, saying: "I believe he will be fully charged when the season begins." "Lewis has in front of him a possibility to be an eight-time world champion," he continued.
"So I'm sure he's completely focused on these goals because there will be so many new things, so many variables this year that will make this championship so appealing."