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Stefano Domenicali: ‘F1 can drive real change – we are not chasing money’

By Giles Richards

28 Feb 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

The Formula 1 season opens this weekend in Bahrain. Ahead of the first race, The Guardian spoke to the F1 chief executive on the decision to stage sports in countries with poor human rights records.

With Formula One ready to go racing again in Bahrain this week it will be a grand season premiere once more accompanied by a chorus of controversy over a host country criticised for its human rights record. It is a refrain that echoes across the sport’s expansion in the Middle East but one that F1’s CEO, Stefano Domenicali, is to his credit unafraid of debating. Indeed, the Italian insists he is proud of what F1 is achieving by wielding what he describes as its soft power.

Sitting in F1’s offices in St James’s Market in London rather than hiding behind the PR homilies that were so often the response before he took over in 2021, Domenicali has welcomed the chance to put his case for taking his sport to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Abu Dhabi.

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