Valtteri Bottas on F1 racing in certain countries with bad human rights: “Money, that’s what talks”

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The return to Qatar after the inaugural 2021 event sparked a number of questions, including the concerns on the all-around freedom of the people living under the Qatari kingdom which had also been brought up before and during the 2022 World Cup, hosted in the same country.

The Alfa Romeo driver, who has been extremely vocal in the past about his support for all minorities, was asked about his feelings on racing in a country where civil and human rights are not a guarantee for everybody.

Photo credits: Alfa Romeo F1 Team

Although he wishes for a race in his home country, Bottas admits he has to go where the sport decides to:

“I love racing, it’s a passion for me and I’m paid to do it, and I go where the races are, because I want to have the chance to fight for points and try to reach my goal. It’s pretty simple as that.

“Of course if I could choose which races we go, probably would skip some and change to race in Finland for example,” he added with a laugh remarking his hopes for a race to be held in his home country.

“But that’s how the sport is, and sometimes we have got to roll with it.”

On the other hand, support and the spotlight brought by the sport on the country might assist in prompting some long-awaited talks of change.

Help in the fight for equal rights can come from Formula 1 racing in such countries and shedding a light on these issues, believes Bottas in accordance with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

“It can be. It’s not easy for sure, and there is always going to be some backlash. There is always going to be criticism, but I think that there are many good things that can be done as well.”

“It is slightly controversial, to be fair.”

Asked if it’s “conflicting” to race in countries where human rights abuses are a daily thing, Bottas agreed, underlining the main reason why some tracks are on the Formula 1 calendar.

“Yes, sometimes for sure. Like, I don’t want to say any particular countries, but yeah, sometimes you kind of question things.

“But then always in the end the answer, if I question certain things like ‘why are we racing there’, in the end it’s always the same answer, money. That’s what talks.”