F1 Lewis Hamilton 90th
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Reports: Lewis Hamilton’s Breonna Taylor shirt sparks an FIA inquiry

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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).

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”