Qatar promised that as the F1 Grand Prix scheduled for November 21 approaches, drivers will be able to speak freely about the frequent criticism of the gas emirate.
Pilots, including British Lewis HamiltonAbdelrahman al-Mannai, chairman of the Qatar Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, said that the seven-time world champions are very concerned about social issues and “will be able to express themselves freely on their platform”.
“We have no problem in Qatar because they are free to say anything they want,” he continued. Qatar is often condemned by international non-governmental organizations because it condemned hundreds of thousands of workers, especially those from Asia, on the main construction sites of the World Cup, which will be held in November and December 2022.
Qatar says “open to criticism”
In March last year, during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, players from a number of national football teams (Norway, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands) protested against the gas emirate. Qatar has implemented a number of reforms to its labor law, such as abolishing “exit visas” for domestic workers, introducing a monthly minimum wage (1.12 euros per hour) or abolishing employers’ “no objection” certificates for workers who wish to change jobs.
“Qatar is now open to criticism (…). In recent years, Qatar has been committed to improving the conditions of workers,” Abdelrahman al-Mannai insisted. “We have made tremendous progress. Of course, the system is not perfect yet,” he continued. The Qatar F1 Grand Prix, originally scheduled for November 21, replaced the Australian Grand Prix, which was cancelled due to pandemic and health restrictions. Qatar has pledged to host F1 at Losell Circuit in the next ten years.
Abdelrahman al-Mannai expects that the first Qatar Grand Prix will take place in front of a well-stocked stand, and spectators will need to be vaccinated. “Of course, we expect it to be full, because since we announced (equipped) F1, demand has exploded,” said Qatar Motorsports boss.
For the ceremony after the game, pilots will not be able to sprinkle champagne on the podium: “We have our own values and culture, and we respect the culture of others (…) We will not use champagne or alcohol during the podium ceremony. , But there will be another option,” he said.