Controversial topics? Free opinion !: Qatar does not give Vettel & Co. a muzzle

Controversial topics? Free opinion!
Qatar does not give Vettel & Co. a muzzle

For a short time, Qatar will be on the Formula 1 calendar this season. The race in Doha is controversial and the human rights situation on the ground is pilloried internationally. The organizers now declare that the pilots around the opinionated Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton can express themselves freely.

At the controversial Formula 1 debut in Qatar on November 21, the drivers should not have to fear a muzzle decree from the race organizers. This was confirmed by Qatar’s Motorsport Association President Abdulrahman Al Mannai at a press conference. In the capital, Doha, he presented the plans for the World Championship run on the Losail International Circuit, which was soon to be added to the racing calendar.

“Drivers are free to express their opinion on contentious issues,” explained Al Mannai: “We are happy to support the drivers in expressing opinions on their platforms. This is not an issue for us in Qatar because they are free to say what always want to say. “

The substitute race for the Australian Grand Prix, which was canceled due to the corona pandemic, was held exactly one year before the opening game of the even more controversial final of the 2022 World Cup (November 21 to December 18) triggered a lot of criticism. For years, Qatar has been pilloried internationally for disregarding human rights. Critics accuse the rulers of “sport washing” through extensive involvement in professional sport to polish up the battered image of Qatar. For example, homosexuality is generally a criminal offense.

Viewers in Qatar must be vaccinated or recovered

Al Mannai’s announcement of permission for unfiltered statements, in extreme cases, also about Qatar, at least at first glance, seems like an involuntary invitation to opinionated pilots like world champion Lewis Hamilton. The British Mercedes driver is one of the initiators of the # WeRaceAsOne campaign for the premier class against racism as well as for diversity and human dignity. “I don’t think we should go to these countries and ignore what is happening there,” said the seven-time World Cup champion.

Sebastian Vettel had also repeatedly expressed himself critically in the past few months and, for example, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, set an example for diversity with rainbow colors on the helmet. “I find it embarrassing for a country that is in the EU to have such laws or to vote on them,” said the 2010 to 2013 world champion. He criticized Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government for banning information about homosexuality and transsexuality, for example: “I think there are a few topics that you can’t hide from. Some topics are so big that they really belong everywhere and should keep everyone busy. “

Unlike in the premier class, there is no champagne shower in Qatar at the awards ceremony on the podium. The reason is the ban on alcohol in the emirate. “We have our own values ​​and our own culture. We will use alternatives to celebrate the drivers on the podium,” said Al Mannai. The Qataris expect the seats to be full for the Formula 1 premiere. To protect against corona infections, the 2G rule applies, so that negative test results are not sufficient to visit the route and only vaccinated and recovered fans are allowed access.

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