Magnussen stops kneeling because of Black Lives Matter
"I am against racism and I think that should stop"
Kevin Magnussen says he has joined those who refuse to kneel before Formula 1 races because he does not support the Black Lives Matter political movement.
In Austria and Hungary, only six drivers did not join Lewis Hamilton and the rest of the 2020 field in kneeling in solidarity with the anti-racism movement.
But with world champion Hamilton wearing a ’Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt rather than the ’End Racism’ slogan on the shirts of the other drivers, Haas driver Magnussen admits kneeling made him increasingly uncomfortable.
So, on Sunday at Silverstone, the Dane elected to join Max Verstappen, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniil Kvyat, Carlos Sainz, Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc in deciding instead to stand.
"I do not fully support what the organisation Black Lives Matter stands for," Magnussen is quoted by Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.
Indeed, on the official Black Lives Matter website, racism is not the only issue mentioned. There are references to transgenderism and "cisgender privilege", and one stated aim is to "disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure".
Magnussen said: "I am against racism and I think that should stop. That’s why I knelt at first.
"But I think every driver and every person can show their own thoughts in the way that they want to express them."
So as the kneeling moments continue in 2020, 1996 world champion Damon Hill said there is a risk that the support for it will eventually fade.
"People don’t like being told what to do," he told PA Sport.
"You don’t want to wear out people’s sympathies so it is going to be a challenge to keep the flag flying for Lewis’ cause. Maybe he is going to have to do it on his own and move on," Hill said.
Meanwhile, Magnussen said he is happy with Haas’ 2020 car, even though the team had to take a step backwards following a dire 2019 season.
"The 2019 model was really, really strong once in a while, but it just wasn’t consistent and it peaked very rarely," he said.
"This year we have gone in a different direction and it’s really good. I’m not saying it’s really fast because we are one of the slowest teams.
"But it’s consistent, so what it can do, it can do it all the time. However, when you change a concept as radically as we did, it’s hard not to take a step back," added Magnussen.
"We are heading in a better direction now, but it has cost us a little here and there. That’s frustrating and difficult, but it was necessary for us to be able to come back even stronger."
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