Lewis Hamilton slammed by FIA President for 'imposing beliefs on fans'
The former F1 world champion is known for vocally supporting various causes
Formula 1 stars Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have been slammed by the sport's governing body for their human rights campaigning.
The president of the body, Mohammed ben Sulayem, has criticised the pair for "imposing their beliefs" on people through F1.
When asked about what the sport "should not become" in an interview, the FIA president cited the pair.
"Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our believes in something over the sport all the time.
Lewis Hamilton has been known to champion multiple causes, including LGBTQ+ during races in the Middle East, a region highly criticised by the community.David Davies
"I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.
"On top, there are more than 34% women and 7 religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit. But do I go and pose my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to – for example- jewellery, I didn’t write that."
Ben Sulayem continued by explaining that he hopes the sport will champion "neutrality" as it has become "too political".
He said: "We have it in our FIA status 'neutrality' but I think some people only see neutrality and guidance when it suits them.
"For me, I come from that black or white world and it is very hard to do it. When it is governance, it has to be governance, when it is neutrality, it has to be neutrality.
"We are therefore for one reason and one reason only, and that is sports.
"Now you have to be political sometimes, but not really be a politician. Where do you have the balance? The FIA should be careful not to be dragged into politics without forgetting our roots of motorsports."
The FIA chief faced a backlash for his comments from F1 fans, prompting him to justify his statement on Twitter, saying: "As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society.
"That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future."