(Motorsport-Total.com) – Even before Formula 1 is expected to make a guest appearance in Saudi Arabia next season, criticism of the planned Vast Prix in the Middle East is raining. Amnesty Worldwide speaks of “sportswashing”: The country wants to polish up its image in order to distract attention from local human rights violations.


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The planned Vast Prix in Saudi Arabia is controversial for many reasons Zoom Download

Saudi Arabia is still one of the countries with the most executions worldwide. According to Amnesty, methods of torture are common in prisons, women are systematically discriminated against, and human rights defenders are persecuted and intimidated. The list of complaints is long.

So should Formula 1 even drive there? When asked about this, pilots and team bosses express themselves diplomatically. “I don’t really know enough about it to comment on that,” says world champion Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton: “Sport has the power to change the world”

“I would like to know more about it. To be honest, I don’t know enough About the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. I have some friends who go there and tell me it’s an amazing place, but I think it’s important that before I really speak up, I know exactly what it is about goes. “

Either way, Hamilton believes that sport can achieve something positive:” I think Nelson Mandela said many years ago that sport has the power, the world to change for the better. And I think we have already seen the positive changes that we united states of americaals Sport have committed to this year. “

This is one of the things the Mercedes driver speaks of the stronger commitment to more Eq verification authorization and inclusivity. He himself set up the Hamilton Commission specifically for this purpose. Formula 1 started an initiative called “We Coast As One”.

Wolff sees Formula E in Riyadh as positive Example

“I think this shows that this sport – like many other sports – is a strong platform for change initiate, “says Hamilton. But he also knows: “We do not leave a long-lasting sure effect in these places. The question is: Can we do that? Can we help to draw attention to certain topics and move them to change?”

Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff, Valtteri Bottas

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Hamilton, Wolff and Bottas (from left) hope on sure effects of sports actions on site Zoom Download

His team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also hope that this is possible. “I believe, like Lewis said, that we can have a positive impact on things through our sport. That’s the main thing. We have to have a positive impact on the places we go,” says Bottas.

And Wolff affirmed: “I think sport should unite. Sport should help to bring united states of the united states a better place.” In this context, he highlights the Formula E event in Ad Diriyah near the capital Riyadh as a positive example.

Binotto also relies on sure signals from sports actions

“I am fighting for Formula E in Riyadh. I think it will happen before a year and I was impressed by the changes I saw. Sure, as a visitor, you never know how things are going. But from what I have seen personally, I can only say that it was a great event without any Separation battle, with women and men in the same place who enjoy the sport together. “

In addition, you have to start somewhere to make a difference, Wolff emphasizes. “Became what I’ve seen is that it started somewhere, and I believe we should do everything we can to make the world a better place.”

His team boss colleague from Ferrari, Mattia Binotto, also takes this point of view: “I think that sport, whoever does it and wherever he visits, is always positive and sends a sure message. That is how we should see it.” Meanwhile, his drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc have a hard time making an assessment.

Horner: The decision is up to Formula 1 – Executive floor

“To be fair, I have to admit that I can’t really say something because I don’t really know enough,” says Vettel to a Vast Prix in Saudi Arabia. “We have already touched on the topic a little internally, but I prefer not to say anything because I don’t yet have enough knowledge to really comment on it.”

Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Mattia Binotto

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The Ferrari duo Leclerc and Vettel (from left) doesn’t want to make a hasty judgment Zoom Download

Leclerc thinks similarly, who sees the responsibility in the Formula 1 executives anyway: “I don’t know either, to be honest. They Formula 1 will make the decision, and then that’s it. “

Christian Horner from Red Bull trusts that too.” When we register united states of america for a world championship, we don’t dictate where it is in the calendar, “emphasizes the Briton. “We trust that the commercial rights holder, including the umbrella organization, has made the necessary research and takes the decisions that are right for the interests of sports actions.”

“We are not a political organization, “continues Horner. “Sport should never be seen as political. That’s why we trust that you will make the right decisions. And wherever you decide to race, we will be there and do our best to do as well as possible.”


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