Reports: Lewis Hamilton’s Breonna Taylor shirt sparks an FIA inquiry

F1 Lewis Hamilton 90th
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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Formula One has used ending racism as a primary plank in promoting its 2020 season, but its ruling body is considering whether to sanction six-time champion Lewis Hamilton for wearing a Breonna Taylor shirt in an anti-racism display before and after his most recent victory.

Sky Sports and several other outlets reported Monday that the FIA is exploring whether Hamilton’s shirt, which read “Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back, broke any rules relating to political statements or gestures at races.

Taylor, a Black 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was killed March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky, after police officers attempted to serve a no-knock search warrant. Taylor’s boyfriend, who fired on police after he said they didn’t identify themselves, was arrested, but the charges were dropped. No one has been charged in Taylor’s death during the botched raid.

Lewis Hamilton wore a shirt in tribute to the late Breonna Taylor on the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of Tuscany at the Mugello Circuit (Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images).

After winning Sunday’s first F1 race at the Mugello circuit in Italy, Hamilton ended his first postrace interview with “Justice for Breonna Taylor” and stood on the podium in the T-shirt, which he had tweeted a photo of and also worn during prerace.

(Mario Renzi – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

“It took me a long time to get that shirt,” Hamilton said afterward, according to The Associated Press. “I’ve been wanting to wear that and bring awareness to the fact that there’s people that have been killed on the street and there’s someone that got killed in her own house.”

Hamilton, the only Black champion in Formula One, has been among the most outspoken athletes in the world about social justice this year. He announced plans to create a diversity council in June, has spoken out often about racism and marched with Black Lives Matter protesters in London’s Hyde Park.

He also has been instrumental in organizing prerace protests with his fellow drivers before every F1 race this year. He took a knee while wearing the Taylor shirt before Sunday’s victory.

Hamlin also called out F1 and its drivers earlier this season for needing to do more to stamp out racism.

“All I could say is we’re not doing nearly enough,” Hamilton said after a July 19 victory in Hungary. “I think ultimately it’s still individuals thinking it’s not important.”

His Mercedes-AMG Petronas team has been at the forefront by running an all-black paint scheme as “a stand against racism and discrimination in all forms and a public pledge to further improve the diversity of our team and our sport.”

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff was quoted by the BBC as saying last weekend that Hamilton had the team’s full support to protest racism as he saw fit. Wolff said:

No question – it is entirely his decision. Whatever he does, we will support. The team is fighting against any kind of racism and discrimination and it is Lewis’s personal fight for Black Lives Matter and with all the support we can give him. It’s his call.

Lewis Hamilton with teammate Valtteri Bottas on the podium after the F1 Grand Prix of Tuscany at Mugello Circuit (Jenifer Lorenzini – Pool/Getty Images).

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.