From 'gesture' to 'action' — F1 CEO on the shifting anti-racism focus of the sport

Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, looks on from the grid in Sochi, Russia (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, looks on from the grid in Sochi, Russia (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali mentioned the sport will be shifting its focus from its anti-racism campaign. The Italian believes they will continue with the diversity initiative of the sport, however, they believe in taking action instead of making gestures.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 in an exclusive, the sport's exec spoke about taking the knee and said:

“I think the gesture has been an important gesture because we need to respect everyone, as always. Now the ‘action’ is the focus on the diversity of our community.”

Domenicali was present at the F1’s engineering program scholarship for under-represented groups, which was launched in 2021. He believes initiatives like the scholarship are the initial steps to diversifying the sport.

Speaking about the sport's We Race As One initiative, which started in 2020, Domenicali said:

“We needed to make sure that what we did was important to show the intention of Formula 1 in things that were really important for the world. I think now it’s the matter of [changing] gesture, to action. Now the action is the focus on the diversity of our community, and this is the first step.”

The CEO believes only gestures are not enough to promote diversity in the sport and it will take more than that to end discrimination and promote under-represented groups. While most drivers are free to voice their opinions and promote diversity on their own, the opportunity to do so at the pre-race ceremony might be scrapped, according to the Sky Sports report.

F1 will be extending its Engineering Scholarship to 2025

Formula 1 Group CEO Stefano Domenicali confirmed the extension of the sport’s engineering scholarship to 2025. The initiative, which promotes engineering scholarships for under-represented groups, has received a 1 million dollar donation by the sport’s non-executive chairman Chase Carey.

Confirming the extension of the scholarship, Domenicali said:

“We are committed to increasing diversity and opportunity within this incredible sport. And I am pleased to confirm that we will be expanding our programme for scholars until 2025, providing fantastic opportunity for some incredibly talented students to begin their journeys with Formula 1.”

F1 has successfully supported the top 10 students through the program in 2021. They receive fully paid scholarships to top universities in the UK and Italy for undergraduate and post-graduate studies.

The announcement also confirmed the sport's collaboration with the Black Collective of Media in Sport (BCOMS) and the Blair Project to include under-represented socio-economic backgrounds into the sport with internships and apprenticeships.

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Edited by Anurag C