The FIA has defended its decision to appoint former Formula 1 driver Vitaly Petrov as a steward for this weekend's Portuguese Grand Prix despite his recent controversial comments.
Lewis Hamilton had questioned motorsport's governing body over Petrov's selection after the Russian had seemingly belittled the six-time F1 champion's 'Black Lives Matter' cause.
In remarks to Russian news website Championnat in September ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, Petrov had suggested Hamilton's wearing of a t-shirt dedicated to Breonna Taylor - shot and killed by police in Kentucky this year - after his victory in the Tuscan GP, was "too much", "on top of calling for everyone to kneel".
Petrov then contentiously added: "And let's say a driver admits to being gay. Will they [Formula 1] come out with a rainbow flag and urge everyone to become gay as well? I think the FIA will no longer allow such behaviours."
It led to Hamilton expressing his disappointment, claiming it to be "a surprise to see they would be hiring someone that has those beliefs and is so vocal about things we are trying to fight against".
Hamilton added: "We should definitely be including people here who are with the times, who are understanding of the times we are living in, and sensitive to the matters that are surrounding us
"So I don't really quite understand what their goal is or why particularly he is here. It's not like they [the FIA] don't have any other good options."
But the FIA has insisted Petrov is worthy of his place on the stewards' panel, for what will be the first time, for the race at Portimão, and that he has not contravened any rules with his remarks.
In response, the FIA said: "The FIA appoints driver stewards with the relevant Formula 1 experience and expertise to carry out this function at the highest level, and who have expressed an interest to the FIA in being a driver steward.
"The Federation does not discriminate in this process based upon views expressed outside of their function as an FIA steward, provided that any such expression does not contravene the FIA's regulations and Code of Ethics."
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