Lewis Hamilton criticism falls on deaf ears as FIA announces 2024 Rwanda plan

The FIA held its 2023 Prize Gala in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Friday and plans a trip to Kigali, Rwanda, next year – despite Lewis Hamilton’s criticism of the event’s sustainability

The FIA announced its plan to hold its 2024 Prize Gala in Rwanda – barely an hour after Lewis Hamilton questioned the environmental impact of Friday’s event in Azerbaijan.

Every year, the FIA’s world championships officially come to an end with the Prize Gala. This also applies to Formula 1, which is where Max Verstappen will pick up his third championship trophy.

Hamilton was also there since the top three finishers in each of the FIA’s racing series are required to attend the gala. However, he did not hesitate to question why he and all the others had been made to undertake the arduous trek to Baku.

“I don’t feel a particular way,” he stated. Although Baku is a truly lovely place, and I do enjoy it, I can’t help but wonder if the FIA is truly considering sustainability given the volume of people that came here.

Staying in Paris would have been more convenient for the FIA. However, it’s a stunning arena, and it’s a night when we can all get together to celebrate the accomplishments of the outstanding individuals who work in the sport, including all the incredible drivers that I wouldn’t get to see during the year.”

The FIA’s headquarters are in France, where it has recently held its end-of-season event, as Hamilton noted. At least those in Europe could still attend the gala without having to travel far—last year’s was held in Bologna, Italy.

However, that was not the case for the Baku event this year, and it won’t be in 2024. It was revealed at Friday’s event that the FIA Prize Gala will take place in December of next year in Kigali, Rwanda.

The motorsport federation of the African nation rejoiced over the news on social media. The post stated: “The FIA General Assemblies and Prize Giving in 2024 will be held in Rwanda. An authentic demonstration of our country’s potential and the close ties with the FIA Family. Prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!”

Hamilton also blasted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FIA) for its insufficient probe into Toto and Susie Wolff, citing claims of a possible “conflict of interest” between their roles. The seven-time world champion expressed her disappointment, saying, “It’s just unacceptable to see the governing body questioning the integrity of one of the most incredible female leaders we’ve had in our sport, without questioning, without any evidence, then just saying sorry at the end.”

The industry is always fighting to increase diversity and inclusion, but it seems like some members of the FIA leadership are trying to hold us back whenever we take a step in the right direction. This needs to stop.”

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