Most of the Formula 1 drivers knelt prior to the Austrian GP to make a statement against racism. Max Verstappen and five others decided not to make that gesture just before the Austrian national anthem was played.
A few minutes before the start of the first race of the season, all twenty drivers wore a t-shirt with the message 'End Racism' (end racism) or 'Black Lives Matter' (black lives matter).
On Friday, during a meeting of the drivers, it was decided that everyone could propagate a message in their own way against racism and for inclusivity.
Verstappen and Leclerc do not want to kneel
Earlier on Sunday, some drivers, including Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, had announced that they did not want to kneel.
"I am very involved in equality and the fight against racism," Verstappen wrote on Twitter. "But I also believe that everyone has the right to express themselves in a way and time that suits them. I will not kneel today, but respect and support the choice that every driver makes."
Leclerc posted a similar view on Twitter. "I believe that facts and your behavior in everyday life matter more than a formal gesture that can be considered controversial in some countries. I won't kneel, but that doesn't mean I'm less involved than others in the fight against racism, "wrote the Monegask.
The Grand Prix of Austria started on Sunday at 3.10 p.m. and can be followed in this live blog.
I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themself at a time and in a way that suits them. I will not take the knee today but respect and support the personal choices every driver makes #WeRaceAsOne #EndRacismAvatar
I believe that what matters are facts and behaviors in our daily life rather than formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries. I will not take the knee but this does not mean at all that I am less committed than others in the fight against racism.Avatar