Instead of his usual "Black Lives Matter" statement shirt, Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton displayed a different message during the Tuscan Grand Prix. The eventual race winner wore a t-shirt printed with the message "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor." The FIA is now actively investigating whether or not any rules were breached by the gesture.
Hamilton unzipped his race overalls and displayed the statement shirt during the pre-race anti-racism demonstration as well as on the podium after his victory. Breonna Taylor is a black American woman who was shot eight times by US police officers inside her home in Louisville Kentucky in March. An investigation is still ongoing in relation to the shooting.
Her death is one of the incidents that had been on the forefront of the anti-police brutality protests that have rocked the United States in recent months. The subsequent death of George Floyd while under police custody became the flash point for the demonstrations that have now gained attention around the world. Hamilton has openly supported the Black Lives Matter movement, and has spearheaded a call for racial equality in Formula One.
While the sport has been supportive of the racial equality campaign, the exact nature of Hamilton's statement may be deemed as political by some. This is what the FIA is carefully considering. According to the BBC, a spokesperson for F1's governing body has confirmed that there is an active investigation on the matter.
Both Hamilton and Mercedes have denied that there is a political motivation behind the statement. "I've been wanting to bring awareness to the fact there are people being killed on the street. And someone was killed in her own house and they were in the wrong house and those guys are still walking free," said the race winner.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff confirmed that the team is behind Hamilton all the way. "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," Wolff said.
*As per the latest update, the FIA has decided not to launch a formal investigation on the matter.