Since Sochi was announced as the host of the Winter Olympics for 2014 there has been a massive amount of concern due to Russia’s oppression of LGBT people. It’s a big issue for the athletes because of the oppressive Russian laws meaning that athletes could be thrown in prison for even voicing any support for LGBT people in Russia at all. Not only that, but athletes may be forced back into the closet just so that they won’t fall on the wrong side of the law so it is a huge issue even if it is an issue the Olympics has historically failed to care about. Many will say politics and sports shouldn’t mix but when it comes to effectively criminalizing identities then unless cyborgs and androids start racing then the two can’t be separated.
I just wondered if this was an issue that had been considered when it came to the Grand Prix at all? We don’t have any out drivers and we never have- which is a terrible reflection of that sport- but there’s hundreds of team personnel who travel to the GPs. If it is an issue for discussion for the Olympics then why isn’t it for F1? Is F1 even less progressive than The Games?
There are plenty of countries with oppressive laws and my focus of this thread has been on Russia purely because the Olympics draw a nice comparison however, let’s not forget that Russia also has an appalling record when it comes to journalists, LGBT people can be put to death in the UAE, F1 crowds have drawn criticism over the years for racist jeering of Hamilton and the list can just go on and on. Does this show that F1 has more to do when it comes to equality? The only real focus of the FIA has been a very slow and very limited promotion of women in motor sport. F1 can’t change the laws of a land but it could make a stand and could do more to protect those in the sport.
I hope this starts a nice debate as I can’t believe after this rubbish season I’m actually missing talking about F1!