FIA defends Petrov appointment as F1 Portuguese GP race steward

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The FIA has responded to criticism leveled at the governing body for appointing Vitaly Petrov as its driver steward for this weekend’s Portuguese GP.

The former F1 driver is among the committee of stewards that is calling the shots at Portimao, but Petrov’s presence in Portugal raised a few eyebrows – and especially those of Lewis Hamilton – given the Russian’s recent criticism of Hamilton’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ anti-racism activism and the Mercedes driver’s call for drivers to “take a knee” during F1’s pre-race ceremonial.

Petrov’s appointment was also condemned by UK equal rights movement Racing Pride.

In a statement released on Saturday, the FIA responded to the criticism over Petrov’s appointment as a steward.

“The FIA appoints driver stewards with the relevant Formula 1 experience and expertise to carry out this function at the highest level, and who have expressed an interest to the FIA in being a driver steward.

“The Federation does not discriminate in this process based upon views expressed outside of their function as an FIA Steward, provided that any such expression does not contravene the FIA’s regulations and Code of Ethics.”

While Petrov’s controversial comments expressed at the Russian GP at Sochi did not contravene the FIA’s code of ethics, they were by any standard certainly offensive and removed from F1’s efforts to promote diversity in the sport.

It’s therefore hard to deny that the FIA’s decision to include Petrov among its stewards is a reflection of the governing body’s lack of judgement.


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