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Domenicali to remind drivers of “big responsibility” to act as role models · RaceFans

New Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali will urge drivers to make the most of their opportunity to promote the sport in a positive light.

Domenicali, who took over in charge of F1 last month, has already written to the Grand Prix Drivers Association and plans to meet with them at the first race of the season to discuss how their conduct reflects on the sport and how they can draw attention to the positive changes it is making.

Formula 1 introduced its ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative last year to pay tribute to those fighting Covid-19 and to show the sport’s support for diversity and commitment to tackling racism. All drivers participated in a new pre-race ‘end racism’ observance during 2020. Domenicali also expects drivers to promote the sport’s other priorities, such as improving its sustainability.

“I sent the letter to all the drivers personally, also to the president of their association, Alex Wurz, because I want to share with them how important it is that they understand that their value in being positive ambassadors of Formula 1,” said Domenicali. “Not only talking about the sport itself, but also on the points on the values on which Formula 1 is really focussed, like the ‘WeRaceAsOne’ project and the diversity and sustainability project that we want to share together.

“I invited them for a meeting that we need to have as soon as possible, physically, and the target will be to have it in Bahrain if it’s possible, to really discuss and share this opportunity.”

Formula 1 “cannot lose the opportunity of making sure they understand they are more than drivers and they have a big responsibility because they are the face of our sport,” Domenicali stressed.

“They have to understand also that their behaviour, their words or and [a] ‘lead by example’ approach is what I’m expecting to share with them.

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“There is for sure a relationship with the team and driver. But they need to realise that the relation between the team, drivers and Formula 1 world is essential because we have a huge potential to reach also new fans, new people that they will engage with their faces, with their behaviour, with the way that they really act as a man.

Mazepin’s behaviour came under criticism last year

“That’s an area where I would like to invest a lot of time also on my side to keep discussing not only on the sporting side with them, because we have a special governance [for] that, we have dedicated to discuss about it. But I want to really share how I believe we should really work together also in using our platform and their role model to push for points that are important for our society.”

New Formula 1 driver Nikita Mazepin faced condemnation last year after a video of him groping a woman in a car appeared on one of his social media accounts. Mazepin apologised for the video.

“It was pretty clear what he did, it was not acceptable,” said Domenicali. “Very straightforward.

“But I think that he was apologetic as a reaction to what he did. And we need to make sure that in the discussion we’re going to have, that they understand that we cannot joke on certain things. That is not possible.

“They are too important not to understand that they’re role models, that they have to embrace [it]. And that’s something that we’re going to discuss together, not only with him. At the appropriate time, as I said, I want to have a meeting with them to realise how important all of them are for our sport.”

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