Formula One Racers Stir Up International Controversy Over T-Shirts Supporting LGBTQ Rights

LGBTQ allies — and Formula One racing champions — Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have come under fire for their recent support of diversity and inclusion within the sport.

Alex Cooper of The Advocate reported that German racer Vettel was recently reprimanded by Formula One officials for not removing a T-shirt that supported LGBTQ rights before the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest last weekend.

“The four-time world champion driver wore a rainbow-colored T-shirt on Sunday that read ‘Same Love,’” Cooper reported. “Drivers Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz and Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll were [also] reprimanded for not removing their T-shirts that read ‘We Race As One.’”

That T-shirt comes from a program of the same name that began last year in the racing league to promote and support “diversity, inclusivity and sustainability.”

While Vettel is a staunch supporter of LGBTQ rights and has been especially outspoken about an incredibly discriminatory and harmful new Hungarian law banning representations of LGBTQ individuals from minors, he said his actions that day were more mundane: because of a rainstorm, he claimed that he and the other racers simply “forgot” to take off the messaged shirts as the race got started.

Whether that’s true or not — Vettel was also spotted wearing shoes with a large rainbow stripe just days earlier — one of the biggest names in Formula One racing, Lewis Hamilton from the U.K., quickly came to his support.

“Super proud of this guy,” Hamilton wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post. “There is no rule that says what color shirt you can wear, and supporting the LGBTQ+ community is not reprimandable. This is BS. Well done, Seb. I’ll join you next time with the same shirt.”

In a subsequent post, Hamilton also wrote: “Love to see this Seb supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Love always wins.”


Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.