Kevin Magnussen opted against taking a knee during F1’s anti-racism protest at the British Grand Prix, joining the six Formula One drivers who have done so since the beginning of the season.
F1 gave its drivers an allocated moment ahead of the race to make a statement against racism in whichever way they saw fit. It followed a video montage of all the drivers speaking to the camera about their commitment to the anti-racism movement, which all 20 drivers have signaled their support of.
Thirteen drivers took a knee, while Haas driver Magnussen joined Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz in standing. That group of six stayed standing at the Austrian Grand Prix at the start of July.
Nineteen drivers wore an “End Racism” shirt, while reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, F1’s only Black driver, wore a shirt saying “Black Lives Matter.”
F1 drivers have been split on the meaning of the kneeling gesture and its links to the Black Lives Matter organisation rather than simply being an anti-racism symbol. Magnussen had knelt in Austria, although he said he was not doing so specifically in support of Black Lives Matter, but rather the anti-racism movement.
The Silverstone protest went by smoothly, a stark contrast to the rushed and disorganised effort ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
After that race, Hamilton criticised F1 and racing’s governing body, the FIA, for not taking the lead on the protests and leaving them to the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association to organise. As a result, F1 opened the pit-lane 40 minutes ahead of the race instead of 30, effectively giving more time for the pre-race formalities.
GPDA directors Romain Grosjean and Sebastian Vettel said they are committed to F1 continuing its anti-racism protests throughout the season. Grosjean has said he hopes one day to have all 20 drivers on the same page on the issue of taking the knee.