“I am not a racist, I absolutely hate racism and racism is disgusting. This clarification signed Charles Leclerc is also a stroke of anger. For several weeks, the Monegasque Formula 1 driver has been the subject of attacks on social networks from Internet users accusing him of not kneeling on the circuits in tribute to the victims of racism and police violence. And in his eyes, some have gone too far.
"I am quite active on social networks and I do not accept being treated by the names that I have been treated in recent weeks, in a negative way, because I do not kneel", during the demonstrations against the racism organized before the start of the F1 Grand Prix, he said this Thursday during a press conference on the sidelines of the Grand Prix of 70 years of F1 this weekend at Silverstone.
Moments earlier he posted a message on Twitter where he said, "It's very sad how some people manipulate what I say to make headlines and make it look like I'm a racist." I am not a racist, I absolutely hate racism and racism is disgusting. "
It is very sad to see how some people manipulate my words to make headlines making me sound like a racist.
I am not racist and I absolutly hate racism. Racism is disgusting. 1/3
“To all those who use my image to promote their bad ideas, I politely ask them to stop. I'm not in politics and I don't want to be involved in it, ”wrote the 22-year-old Ferrari driver.
At the initiative of the six-time British world champion Lewis Hamilton, the only black F1 driver, ceremonies are organized before the start of the Grand Prix where the drivers are called to demonstrate against racism. Of the 20 drivers entered in the World Championship, some 70% kneel but some, like Charles Leclerc, have chosen not to do so.
Jean Todt leaves the pilots free of their marks of support
Dane Kevin Magnussen, who drives for Haas, started by kneeling before the first races of the season but chose not to do so again at the British Grand Prix last week at the same Silverstone circuit.
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“I want to make sure that I support the End Racism movement but not political organizations like the Black Lives Matter movement. I want to distinguish myself from that and further promote the movement to end racism, ”he said Thursday when asked about this decision.
The president of the International Automobile Federation, Jean Todt, estimated in an interview with AFP two weeks ago that each driver had the freedom to express or not his convictions.
“There are some who may want to kneel down (to protest racism), there are some who may not want to express themselves in the same way. It is freedom, democracy, ”he notably declared.