It appears as though a number of Formula One drivers are deciding against taking the knee for the Black Lives Matter movement going forward with their races for this season.
They have pinned this on their nationality and what 'taking a knee would represent,' meaning that rather than fighting for what is wrong in the world in order to try and make it right, they are scared about the impact it could have for themselves in the long term with regards to their culture and religion.
The second race of the F1 season kicks off in the Red Bull Ring in Styria, Austria on Sunday July 12, and reports are suggesting that a number of drivers are now taking the decision to stand at the beginning of each race rather than take the knee.
Sportsmail understands that F1 officials won't place a carpet on the grid for the drivers to make their protest as they did on Sunday. Instead, should they wish to protest, drivers will have to find their own spot and that could see more drivers stand.
Six drivers, including Charles Leclerc from Monaco, Max Verstappen from Netherlands and Kimi Raikkonen of Finland were among those who refused to take the knee ahead of the first race back. However, all 20 drivers did line up on the grid at the Red Bull Ring to take a stance against discrimination.
Lewis Hamilton was the only one to line up with a 'Black Lives Matter' t-shirt, where all other 19 drivers, who support the fight against racism and discrimination, wore a t-shirt with the message “End Racism."
While the FIA will no longer roll out the red carpet for drivers to kneel, F1’s governing body on Sunday pledged nearly a million pounds to fight racism.
Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo was one of the 14 drivers to take a knee, and after the race, he said: “All 20 drivers are supportive of the movement to end racism, yet not all choose to kneel because they are afraid of what it would represent for their religion and nationality.
“I just think there was a little bit of difficulty with some drivers and their nationality, and what something like taking a knee would represent. Obviously the reasons why we would do it is purely to support Black Lives Matter. It is for nothing political or anything else... We all understood that we will do what we feel comfortable with. But no one is going to be judged or criticised if they don't stand there in a certain way or take a knee.”
F1 champion Hamilton has himself admitted that he does not know whether he will be kneeling for the rest of the season either, despite himself and his teammate Valtteri Bottas donning black race cars and outfits for the new season.
Hamilton said: "I don't know what the plan is moving forward, it’s really great that Formula 1 and particular Mercedes, have taken note of the issues we're facing across the world and deciding to do something about it.
"I think ultimately everything we do is not going to be enough and we all need to do more… So somehow and ultimately I could be the guinea pig there. I will keep speaking out. And going back to it, all of us, myself included, everyone has to look at accountability and see what they can do better within their organisation and their own team. Moving forwards, I don't know if I'll continue to [take a knee].”
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