Daniel Ricciardo on racism: ‘Being silent is part of the problem’

Renault Formula 1 star Daniel Ricciardo has opened up on feeling “naive” about racism but says he now understands how important it is to speak out – and believes that “change is really happening”.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, Ricciardo has been one of many F1 drivers to have posted passionately about the Black Lives Matter movement – slamming “toxic ” racism while urging everyone to “keep fighting for equality”.

He admitted he was “glad he had been exposed to it” during a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports F1 on Monday, when he was asked about support for Lewis Hamilton – who has recently set up a diversity commission and attended a Black Lives Matter protest in London over the weekend – as well as F1’s new We Race As One initiative.

Seeing the news the last few days has left me saddened, what happened to George Floyd and what continues to happen in today’s society is a disgrace. Now more than ever we need to stand together, unified together. Racism is toxic and needs to be addressed not with violence or silence but with unity and action. We need to stand up, we need to be a WE. Let’s be better people. It’s 2020 ffs. Black lives matter.

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“I’ve certainly learned a lot the last few weeks, probably close to a month now,” Ricciardo, a seven-time race-winner, exclusively said on the F1 Show. “I’ve been reading, I’ve been watching, and it’s certainly opened my eyes.

“I’ve learned that just because you might not be, or consider yourself, a racist or a person of conflict, that’s not enough. You have to speak up, you have to educate yourself and others around you. Because what I’ve understood is being silent is kind of part of the problem really.

“I’ve watched quite a few videos, there’s been so much circulating on Twitter, on Instagram. I felt… I don’t know if it’s guilty or, how could I be so naive to everything that’s been going on? It’s not only the last few weeks, it’s been months, it’s been years.

“It is good that finally I think more of the world is getting exposed to it, people are getting behind it, and also to understand that it’s OK to speak up, and know that you’re not going to be judged or criticised.

Been seeing a lot the last couple weeks. Lots of positive movement. Still learning and understanding but I know it’s opened a lot of our eyes and that’s a good thing. Change can come through exposure. Keep fighting for equality. Hope everyone’s doing ok ❤️

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“I think because of the volume of everyone getting involved, and all racers getting involved, that’s been really powerful.”

Ricciardo referenced seeing UFC fighter Israel Adesanya, a New Zealander of Nigerian descent, in tears joining a protest march in Auckland, stating that “obviously this runs deep for so many people”.

“I’m really happy and glad that all of us have been exposed to it and can understand more about it,” the Australian added.

“I’m sure it breaks a lot of people’s hearts having to learn about it and watch videos. Some things are so bad that you want to turn your phone off, but I find myself watching, kind of in disbelief. But then I’m like how could I have not known more about this?

“It’s good, it’s positive, and I think change is really happening.”

F1’s We Race As One initiative has been launched to help impact change, as well as improving “diversity and opportunity in Formula 1 at all levels”.

Ricciardo continued: “Probably every aspect of everything we do in life we can do better, and be better. It’s thinking about it, talking about it and then actually acting on it. I think now finally actions are being taken.

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