F1 should go to countries with human rights issues - Todt

FIA president Jean Todt says he supports Formula 1 going to countries that raise human rights issues, and he believes the sport should stay out of politics.

F1 should go to countries with human rights issues - Todt

The addition of Saudi Arabia to the 2021 calendar has raised questions from human rights groups, while other venues such as Bahrain, China and Russia have also proved controversial in the past.

Todt said his road safety role with the United Nations has given him the opportunity to meet human rights experts who agreed that F1 should visit such countries.

"It's something which is very dear to my heart," he said. "And since now five years I'm very much involved with the UN as secretary general special envoy for road safety.

"If you see the high level panel I made on road safety, you have Zeid Raad Al Hussein, a former high commissioner for human rights.

"You have Michelle Bachelet, who is the actual high commissioner for human rights. You have Filippo Grandi, the high commissioner for refugees. So in a way, it's a privilege I have to be discussing with them.

"Yesterday Stefano [Domenicali] came to visit me, and I had Jacques Toubon, former justice minister who has been until last year in charge of human rights in France, and I spoke with him about that.

"And everybody is in favour of having races wherever around the world. I mean, we are a sport.

"It's also something I discussed very often with the International Olympic Committee, with Thomas Bach. Because they have the same problem. And clearly we consider that sport should not be involved with politics."

Jean Todt, President, FIA

Jean Todt, President, FIA

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Todt stressed that the FIA should talk to human rights groups about the countries that races visit, and suggested that high profile events actually give them a chance to highlight issues.

"We need to engage with NGOs," said Todt. "And I mean, good NGOs, like Human Rights Watch, who are proper people, to try to say, what kind of contribution we can give? So we are working, we're working on that.

"You can interpret the way that it helps you. In my opinion, going in those countries gives also the chance for people who are negative about the country to speak, which probably they would not have otherwise.

"So, as I said, it's a lot of question of interpretation. But, for me, I feel right."

Todt confirmed that the FIA could veto schedule choices made by F1 and Liberty Media.

"Who is proposing the calendar? It's the commercial rights holder. It would be unfair to say it's only them, because we could tell them don't go there. And they will follow us, so we do agree.

"Because at the end of the day, once a calendar is proposed, it goes to me, and to the World Council, who does agree, and I never recall having one guy say we should not go there. It's a combined agreement, to go in those countries."

shares
comments
Sainz: Pirelli has tougher task than previous F1 tyre suppliers

Previous article

Sainz: Pirelli has tougher task than previous F1 tyre suppliers

Next article

F1 French GP Live Commentary and Updates - Race day

F1 French GP Live Commentary and Updates - Race day
Load comments
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021