Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali says the sport will "never put a gag on anyone" amid ongoing controversy over freedom of speech.
Governing body the FIA is facing a backlash over a new rule that prohibits "personal, religious and political statements" without written consent.
"Everyone wants to talk," said former Ferrari team boss Domenicali.
"So to have the platform to say what they want in the right way, the better it is."
His comments contrast with the position of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
The two bodies share the running of the sport. F1, part of US company Liberty Media, owns the commercial rights, dealing with all financial issues, including negotiating television and race contracts. The FIA runs the legislative side and is required by a legal agreement with the European Commission to stay out of commercial matters.
Williams' Alex Albon this week revealed F1 drivers are "all concerned" about the FIA's apparent desire to curtail their freedom to speak out on social and political issues.
He said the new rule was "confusing" and called for clarity from the FIA "on what they are trying to tell us".
Albon believes it is a "responsibility" of drivers to "make people aware" of issues, and said the impression was that the FIA was moving away from the pro-diversity We Race As One campaign that F1 as a sport has promoted since 2020.
Domenicali, speaking to the Guardian, added: "We have a huge opportunity because of the position of our sport, which is more and more global, multicultural and multi-valued.
"We are talking about 20 drivers, 10 teams and many sponsors, they have different ideas, different views.
"I cannot say one is right, one is wrong but it is right, if needed, to give them a platform to discuss their opinions in an open way.
"We will not change that approach as a sport.
"Athletes can be very emotional and passionate about some things and they need to discuss that constructively with people they trust."
Domenicali said he expected the FIA to clarify its position in the near future, "in terms of respecting certain places where you cannot do it".
"I am sure the FIA will share the same view as F1 but they are part of an Olympic federation so there are protocols to which they have to abide."
However, a number of senior sources have said that their belief is that F1 and Ben Sulayem have different positions on the subject of allowing drivers to speak out.
The last three years in F1 have been marked by drivers becoming increasingly vocal on diversity, racial and environmental issues, led by seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and the now-retired four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
All have taken part in F1's We Race As One initiative, and several have already condemned the FIA's new ruling.
Last week, world champion Max Verstappen said that it was unnecessary, and Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas said he "didn't understand why they want to control us".
And at the Alfa Romeo team launch on Tuesday, Bottas' team-mate, China's Zhou Guanyu, said of the FIA's approach: "I don't think it is the right way to do it.
"We are human so we can say the stuff we want to but we are not against anyone. We are just saying the truth or trying to be the real person inside and out, so I think we should have the right to say what we want."
Many drivers have not yet been asked about the issue as F1 is on its winter break.
But with a series of launches over the next 10 days - including that of Hamilton's Mercedes team next Wednesday - it is expected that the chorus of condemnation will grow louder.