F1’s axed We Race As One grid moment was ‘too strong for the business side’ – Vettel

2022 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel suspects Formula 1’s decision to cease the ‘We Race As One’ observance before races in 2022 was motivated by “business” considerations.

Since the start of the 2020 season, following widespread outrage at racial inequality and police brutality prompted by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, Formula 1 has held an official pre-race grid moment which all drivers must attend as part of the sport’s We Race As One inclusivity and diversity programme.

Earlier this week, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali confirmed that, while We Race As One video packages will continue to be played on the official world feed prior to grands prix in 2022, there will no longer be any official gestures of solidarity that drivers will be required to attend.

Asked by RaceFans whether Formula 1 had informed him and his fellow drivers that the We Race As One grid observance would be stopped, Vettel replied: “No, they just changed.”

“I was a bit surprised,” Vettel continued. “I think the issues that we’re tackling are not going to be gone within two years and therefore I was a bit surprised.”

F1 confirmed to RaceFans their plan to end the pre-race grid moment was communicated to all 10 teams several weeks earlier.

F1 have not forbidden drivers from making their own gestures of solidarity in support of racial equality on the grid. Vettel is hopeful that he and his fellow drivers who wish to continue to express their support will continue to show solidarity together before races, but believes that the reasons why the official observance is being dropped are business-related.

“I hope that, as drivers, we find a way to get together and find a slot of still expressing topics that are important to us,” he said. “Probably not all the drivers care, but I think there’s some that really do care.

“It would be great to get together, but it probably was getting a bit too strong and too individual for the business side of things.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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31 comments on “F1’s axed We Race As One grid moment was ‘too strong for the business side’ – Vettel”

  1. Or maybe it was just another nail on F1 hypocrisy coffin.

    1. The inauthentic ‘we race as one’ observance, with driver participation required, was hypocritical – I think F1 is doing well to be rid of it. Drivers can still gesticulate or kneel or whatever on their own for observance of whatever cause they have individually, authentically or otherwise. That is, the sport doesn’t need to look like fools, AND Seb can still feel good about himself picking up bits of litter while cashing checks from Aramco (for example).

      1. And Norris can look good talking about mental health whilst cashing cheques from PIF

  2. One of the few wise decision in F1. It would be awkward view after seeing the most vocal black lives matter driver take a knee to a white imperialist queen.

    1. @ruliemaulana This makes me think…have there been any people who have turned down invitations to knighthood? I know of people who rescinded their knighthood later (Rabindranath Tagore after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre comes to mind).

      1. @wrsgo Yes there are plenty! It often gets mentioned around the time the honours lists are revealed. In fact, there’s an
        entire Wikipedia list devoted to it (this is the list of anyone who declined any British honour, the knighthood section should be in the contents page)

      2. @wsrgo

        There is a wiki page that lists a bunch of people who declined, for various reasons. For example, Churchill declined so he and his son could remain in the House of Commons.

        David Bowie declined, as well as Bernie Ecclestone. The latter didn’t think that his music career deserved a knighthood (ok, I made that up).

        T. E. Lawrence declined over anger at how the Arabs had been double crossed.

    2. Don’t flatter the white imperialist queen, it’s about the USA and the money.

  3. in my case, I was holding on switching to the race until the warm-up lap. so 0 advertisements seen. maybe I will keep it up this year also :) new habits in ‘new normal’, eh

  4. I just came here to read the comments from the privileged white and they did not disappoint; same old song.

    1. “privileged white”
      Most of us here are not even American, so using that American term blindly for the commenters here is just silly.

      1. You don’t have to be American to be a privileged white.

        1. Im latino, not white… and im really glad they got rid of that

          Thanks for participating

          1. @J3d89

            About half of American Latinos actually consider themselves white. The entire American classification system is a hodgepodge, requiring a choice between options that are not strictly distinct.

        2. You don’t have to be any skin colour to be privileged. Most “white people” in the world aren’t privileged in any way compared to anybody else.
          The white/black dychotomy was created in the USA, as it reflects its social construction, and so the “white privelege” concept which refers to that society in the light of its history.
          Wave that silly notion in front of a poor Russian’s face and I hope they’ll make you eat it.

          1. In America they poor Russian is made to feel, hey at least we’re not black. So the fact that the sport is begging to make inroads into the USA makes it very pertinent, despite what the Euro colonizers think.

          2. White privilege is a thing everywhere. You probably haven’t looked too closely for it.

          3. I’ll help the russian

    2. @The Dolphins

      Ah, there we have the racist.

    3. You must be a seer …

      (apologies to seers everywhere)

    4. According to some American Philosophers, I, a person of South Asian decent, is considered to benefit from “white privilege”.

      *shoulder shrug emoji*

  5. Introducing it was also meant to protect the business. What did you expect?

  6. Big respect Vettel!

  7. They rode the wave of global popular uprising in 2020 and it’s no longer convenient. In other words, we support social issues unless they interfere with our business model. Rich wipipo telling popipo we’ve symbolically done enough. LOLz

  8. It was a cringefest. We shouldn’t need a bunch of sportspeople forced into something like this, just to show us we should be decent human beings.

    1. Man is just helpless and at the mercy of his fellow man.

    2. Sadly, there’s far too many people who don’t know, or don’t think, that they should be decent human beings. This gesture drew attention to serious issues in the world, that often get forgotten about without moments like this.

      Huge respect to Vettel. Never been a fan of him as a driver, but his words have been important, and it’s nice to see drivers speak out, and not just give canned answers and resposnes.

  9. I didn’t really have a strong opinion for or against it. Didn’t often see it happening, and when I did it didn’t ruin or improve my weekend at all.

    But maybe it has run its course. It felt more meaningful when it first started, but it feels a bit like a routine, generic gesture now. And it’s completely eclipsed by more or less any action or statement that goes beyond a generic gesture – even a single meaningful sentence in an interview by someone like Vettel or Hamilton.

    That, and it seemed a bit silly having 20 men make a public demonstration in favour of ‘equality’ in a shut-off, privileged paddock bubble… when in certain countries if two of those men walked 10m outside the circuit gate and kissed each other, they’d be (at best) thrown in prison.

  10. A lot of these comments tell me maybe the ‘We Race As One’ campaign should’ve continued…

  11. I just looked on the F1 management website at the ‘Senior Management’.
    4 old white blokes and an old white woman. Diversity at its best.

  12. I am very happy they got rid of it. Political theatre in my view (it also just felt empty, contrived, and forced). “End Racism” is a meaningless term, and it implies that the reason there isn’t a greater ethnic mix in F1 is because of prejudice. This is believed by many without a shred of evidence being presented.

    My personal opinion is that the only diversity that matters is the diversity of the human spirit, and you cannot gauge that by colour.

    I’m also tired of people gleefully warming their hands around the fire of ‘diversity’ every time there’s a black or brown face in this “high” position or whatever. It induces people to think that, somehow, every black person is working around with the weight of past historical injustices on their shoulders, and, that to remedy that, whites should walk around with appropriate levels of guilt on theirs because somehow they are “collectively” responsible. This is a fundamentally flawed and potential dangerous way of conceiving human interactions. It is the exact opposite way of trying to achieve a colour blind society and will not solve the problem, because it isn’t identifying what the problem is, but people feel they have to go along with the narrative to show that they are good people. Case in point: Whites in particular can no longer talk about this stuff with any nuance or different perspectives for fear of being labelled you know what. The corporatisation of these issues causes the light to be shone in the wrong direction (i.e away from the root causes). Taking a knee and wearing T-shirts isn’t serious imho but I can still appreciate that most do it for good reasons, because, at the end of the day that is what the majority of people want, to do good.

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