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
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Plus

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Plus

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Plus

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats Plus

How Verstappen's record-breaking 2022 season compares to the F1 greats

The 2022 Formula 1 season will be remembered as a record book rewriting Max Verstappen masterclass, a completely different challenge to his maiden world championship last year, and a clear sign he is still raising his own level. But where does it stack up against the all-time great F1 campaigns?

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2022 Formula 1 season came to a close at the Yas Marina Circuit, where the battle for second in the standings was decided, the wins in a season record extended and a retiring four-time world champion bowed out on a high. Here's how we rated the drivers

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph Plus

The factors that stopped Perez catching Leclerc in Verstappen's Abu Dhabi triumph

Max Verstappen ended the 2022 Formula 1 season in fitting fashion with a dominant drive to victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. But behind him, early season rival Charles Leclerc achieved his target of securing the runner-up spot with a well-executed a one-stop strategy to beat Sergio Perez, whose pursuit on a two-stop strategy was hampered by several critical factors

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2022
Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge Plus

Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Formula 1
Nov 20, 2022