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F1 boss slams drivers for LGBTQ and BLM support

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Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and others regularly lend their voices to global issues and use their social platform to help raise awareness.Most recently, Sebastian Vettel was the cover interview for Attitude magazine – the largest LGBTQ publication in Europe – in which he said condemned anti-gay prejudice and called for worldwide inclusivity.“For me, it’s very simple: how can anyone think they have the right to dictate to someone else how they should live or whom they should love?” Vettel said.“The answer is: they don’t have that right. I’m happy to stand up for that principle.“I’m totally against racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and all forms of prejudice. I’m very concerned about the environment. I’ll always stand up for those values and principles.“Whether I like someone or not has nothing to do with their sexual orientation or skin colour. I see everyone as equal. But hearing from people, or reading their stories, and learning about how they dealt with suppression has surely had an impact on me, both consciously and subconsciously.Sulayem, who hails from the United Arab Emirates, however does not see it as the duty of a driver to comment on such matters.“Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving,” he said. “Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health. Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time.“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.“On top, there are over 34% women and 7 religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit.“But do I go and pose my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to – for example- jewellery, I didn’t write that.”His comments are unlikely to sit well among the driving fraternity.Last year Hamilton went viral for taking a stand in Qatar and Bahrain with his rainbow helmet while Vettel wore rainbow shoes and a Pride T-Shirt in Hungary after the country outlawed LGBTQ education for anyone under 18.Hamilton also called for F1 to be more diverse and led a movement of drivers to take the knee during the anthems and wear BLM shirts.Norris meanwhile has been an advocate for mental health and regularly fundraises with teammate Daniel Ricciardo.Explaining his decision to make a stand in Hungary and Saudi, Vettel told Attitude: “I did it because I wanted to show that I didn’t, and wouldn’t, endorse the anti-LGBTQ legislation that had recently been enacted in Hungary.“No country is perfect. My own country, Germany, is imperfect. The country of the team I race for, the UK, is imperfect. As far as LGBTQ rights are concerned, there are some countries that we visit that are much tougher than others — obviously. “We could refuse to race in those countries — but what then? If we were not to race there, we’d be powerless to make any positive difference at all. But by racing in those countries and politely, but firmly, standing up for the values and principles that are important to us, I think we can have a positive impact. Values and principles can’t stop at borders.”Formula One has never had an openly gay driver in its history.Vettel hopes that one day this will change and that everyone in the F1 family feels comfortable enough to be open and honest about themselves.“Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case in the past, but now I think a gay Formula One driver would be welcomed — and rightly so,” he said. “I feel that a gay driver would help to speed up the elimination of prejudice and help push our sport in a better direction.”



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