Formula One: Magnussen says he opposes racism but thinks kneeling is political

Haas' Kevin Magnussen during a press conference ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Haas' Kevin Magnussen during a press conference ahead of the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.PHOTO: REUTERS

SILVERSTONE, UNITED KINGDOM (AFP) - Kevin Magnussen said on Thursday (Aug 6) that he supported Formula One's anti-racism stance, but chose not to take a knee at last Sunday's British Grand Prix to distance himself from the political aspects of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

The Dane, who drives for the American Haas team, had taken a knee at each of the opening three events, but at Silverstone he stood, alongside the six drivers who have stood at every race so far this year.

"I think in terms of standing or kneeling, I want to make sure that I'm with the messaging of ending racism," said Magnussen.

"I support that movement - and not any sort of political organisation that, I think, the Black Lives Matter movement is.

"I just want to separate myself from that and then push on with ending racism and that messaging, which I think is great that Formula One is doing and that all of the drivers are supporting.

"I'm just trying to do that and that's what I said before the second Austrian Grand Prix," he said.

"Let's do what we continue to do."

Fourteen drivers took a knee ahead of the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, led by six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, the sport's only black driver, who wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt while the rest, including the six who stood, wore End Racism T-shirts.

The division remained unchanged for the Steiermark and Hungarian races, but last Sunday, Magnussen stood to change the balance to 13 taking a knee and seven not.

 
 

Hamilton made clear last Sunday that he was proud of his fellow-drivers for their support, in whatever form, following the guidance supported by Jean Todt, the president of ruling body the International Motoring Federation (FIA).

Todt said it would be inappropriate to force drivers into making gestures with which they did not feel entirely comfortable.

Another organised ceremony to enable the drivers to show their feelings and take a knee is expected to take place ahead of Sunday's 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.