Sunday, the Formula One organization tweeted a video of several drivers kneeling and wrote “End Racism. One cause. One commitment. As individuals, we choose our own way to support the cause. As a group of drivers and a wider F1 family, we are united in its goal. #WeRaceAsOne“
However, it’s immediately clear that not all the drivers were kneeling.
In fact, 6 in total chose not to kneel.
One cause. One commitment.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 5, 2020
Fox12 reports the Formula One grid was divided ahead of the sport’s return as several drivers, including Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, chose not to kneel in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
All 20 drivers congregated on the start line before the Austrian Grand Prix, the first race of the season following the three-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lewis Hamilton, who has been using his sizable platform to speak out against racial and social injustice, knelt on the front line wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, while the rest of the drivers had “End Racism” written on theirs.
Before the race, Ferrari driver Leclerc posted a series of tweets explaining why he had chosen not to kneel alongside his peers.
“All 20 drivers stand united with their teams against racism and prejudice, at the same time embracing the principles of diversity, equality and inclusion, supporting Formula 1’s and FIA’s commitment,” he wrote.
“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.
Verstappen echoed Leclerc’s comments, writing: “I am very committed to equality and the fight against racism. But I believe everyone has the right to express themselves 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.”
In total six drivers chose not to kneel. The other four were Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen.