Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton turned heads at the Tuscan Grand Prix by wearing a Breonna Taylor tribute shirt prior to and after his win. One side of the shirt featured the text, "Arrest the Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor" and the back showed a photo of her face. Now there are questions about whether Hamilton broke any rules, prompting an investigation by the International Automobile Federation.
"We are giving this issue active consideration," said a spokesman for the FIA. He also told reporters that the discussion is also about how to proceed in the future. F1 teams are not allowed to make political or religious statements and gestures during events. However, the drivers have more freedom under the current rules. Hamilton has regularly worn "Black Lives Matter" shirts during the sport's anti-racism ceremonies.
The 26-year-old Taylor, an EMT, was shot and killed by plainclothes police officers in March while she slept in her bed. The officers were serving a no-knock warrant in Louisville, Kentucky, but they were at the wrong residence. Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, heard the officers trying to break down the door and fired a warning shot with his licensed handgun. Now-fired Louisville Metro Police Officer Brett Hankison shot 10 rounds into the house, eight of which hit Taylor.
While Hamilton has traditionally worn "Black Lives Matter" shirts during pre-race ceremonies, he switched to the Taylor tribute for the Tuscan GP. However, the six-time champion told reporters during the post-race interview that he has wanted to wear the shirt to bring awareness. It just took a very long time to get the tribute.
"It took me a long time to get that shirt and 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, and they're in the wrong house, and those guys are still walking free," Hamilton said. "We can't rest, we can't... we have to continue to raise awareness with it."
Prior to the Tuscan GP, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff weighed in on Hamilton's t-shirt choices during the 2020 season. He said that the team supports the sport's only Black driver and how he chooses to express himself. The Austrian said that the demonstrations are entirely Hamilton's decision.
"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," Wolff told reporters. "The much broader movement is obviously the fight against any kind of racism and discrimination — and we as a team and as a corporate have always put an emphasis to fight against that injustice."