Lando Norris might be one of the youngest drivers on the Formula 1, but that doesn't mean he's happy with the prospect of being treated like a school child again by the FIA.
Speaking at McLaren's 2023 team launch event, Norris used the opportunity to take aim at the FIA's new sporting regulations limiting what drivers can say at races without seeking permission in advance.
The new restrictions relate to "the general making and display of political, religious and personal statements or comments notably in violation of the general principle of neutrality promoted by the FIA under its statutes".
Many drivers and team personnel have already objected to this, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner suggesting that the FIA was trying to turn drivers into a "load of robots" by suppressing opinions and personalities.
And now McLaren driver Norris has argued that the FIA is treating drivers like they are in school, instead of trusting them to be "grown-up".
"There are things that you want to do, that you're going to want to say, which maybe they don't allow it," he told the media at Monday's event.
"F1 has made things clear with what they think is acceptable and what we should be able to do as drivers, and that's what I stand by."
"We should be able to say and do what we want. That's what defines people, is what creates us, what makes us human.
"We shouldn't have to ask about everything and say, 'Can we do this? Can we do that?'" he said. "I think we're grown up enough to try to make smart decisions. Maybe sometimes people make silly decisions, but that happens in life.
"We should be able to say what we want and what we believe in. We're not in a school," he insisted. "I feel like there's been quite a bit of pressure and enough said to maybe make a little bit of a U-turn.
Norris said that drivers wanted to use their celebrity status to make a positive impact around the world.
"We're doing it because we have a lot of fans, millions of fans, millions of viewers who we want to influence and guide and use to help or to help them personally.
"We're only trying to help people in the world and give advice and so on, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be allowed to do that."
The FIA's initiative came at a time when relations between the governing body and Formula 1 appear to be somewhat strained.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem sent a letter to F1 bosses saying stepped back from the day-to-day management of F1 but insisted that this was a pre-planned move decided months ago and not a response to recent rows.
Norris himself said he was keen to back to work, with pre-season testing starting on February 23 ahead of the first Grand prix race on March 5.
“The off-season has been good but I'm looking forward to getting back on track and behind the wheel of the MCL60 for the first time, he said. "The new car looks great, and everyone involved in the build has played an important role.
"This is my fifth year in Formula 1 and I’m hoping to carry positive momentum into the new season after a year of racing under the new era of regulations.
"I feel that I’m in a positive position to keep on improving as a driver. I’ve enjoyed my journey with the team so far, and to be involved in McLaren’s 60th anniversary is a privilege."
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