August 1, 2021

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Four-times Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel was reprimanded for not removing a t-shirt promoting LGBTQ+ rights ahead of the national anthem at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The German was wearing a rainbow coloured t-shirt with the message “Same Love” on the grid ahead of the start of the race.

Three other drivers — Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Vettel’s Aston Martin team mate Lance Stroll — were also reprimanded for failing to remove their ‘We Race As One’ t-shirts in time for the national anthem.

Vettel and the other drivers said they had forgotten to take their t-shirts off because of the onset of rain. They were all found to be in breach of Article 12.2.1.i) of the FIA International Sporting Code and given non-driving reprimands. 

‘We Race As One’ is a platform launched by Formula One last year that counts diversity, inclusivity and sustainability as its core principles.

Drivers are free to wear apparel with a message that is supportive of the initiative’s principles. But they were instructed to remove any such t-shirts before the national anthem and wear their race suits in a pre-race note issued by race director Michael Masi.

Hungary is set to put an anti-LGBTQ+ law that limits schools’ teaching about homosexuality and transgender issues to a referendum.

Vettel, who on Thursday wore shoes carrying a rainbow stripe, has spoken out against the legislation along with seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton who called on Hungarians to vote against it.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)