Lewis Hamilton claims F1 has to scrutinise Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the human rights issues the country is infamous for.
Ever since the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the F1 calendar, the outrage against F1 for allowing despotic regimes to sportswashing their ignominious image due to human rights issues.
It’s not the first time F1 has tied up with a country infamous for human rights violations. However, the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Qatar piqued the resistance by fans unable to see the sport benefiting such establishments.
Lewis Hamilton, often airing his thoughts on public forums been asked to voice against such deals by F1. Now, ahead of the Qatar GP, Hamilton claims F1 needs to scrutinise such regimes.
“As sports go to these places, they are duty bound to raise awareness for these issues,” said Hamilton. “These places need scrutiny. Equal rights is a serious issue.”
“I am aware that in this place they are trying to make steps and it can’t change overnight.”
Lewis Hamilton urges sportspersons to speak
According to Amnesty, the human rights situation in both countries is categorised as “extremely troubling”. Qatar is criticised for its problematic freedom of expression restrictions and its treatment of migrant workers.
The Kafala system, the governed workers’ relationship with their employees and banned in 2016, still attracts international condemnation. After pinpointing such issues, Hamilton wants more sportspersons to speak about these issues along with him.
“One person can only make a certain amount of small difference, but together, collectively, we can have a bigger impact,” he added. “I have been to a lot of these countries and have been ignorant, been unconscious of some of the problems in some of the places.
“It’s down to whether you decide to educate yourself and hold the sport more accountable and make sure the sport is actually doing something about it when it goes to these places.”
“That’s why I’ve tried to raise my voice. But there are far brighter people that are knowledgeable on these issues that are trying to fight them in the background. But I still think we can bring a spotlight to it and create that scrutiny and that pressure that can hopefully create change.“
Sebastian Vettel recently publicly criticised F1 for tying up with such autocratic regimes. He even went on to state: “I’m not sure whether the money we get is very pure”.