Racist, sexist or homophobic Formula 1 fans should ‘fuck off’ and ‘stay at home’, says Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, who welcomed victim of sexual harassment at Austrian Grand Prix in the team garage for the race. .
On Sunday morning, it emerged F1 had to report female fans who had been sexually harassed at the Red Bull Ring with the race promoter and security at the event.
Some female Austrian GP supporters have reportedly been subjected to unsolicited physical advances as well as verbal harassment and have their photos taken without their consent.
F1 condemned the perpetrators saying: “This kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
After the grand prix, Wolff made his disgust for those responsible clear.
“If you’re a real Formula 1 fan, whatever the team, whatever the driver, you can’t be racist and you can’t be homophobic, you can’t be sexist because you don’t fit to F1, and we don’t ‘I don’t want you,'” Wolff said.
“On the other hand, we have to be careful that there are some drunken fools who haven’t understood how the world is today, we shouldn’t condemn the 99.9% of fans who come here .
“There will always be those idiots around, hopefully we put on a good show for the rest.
“You have to report them [the perpetrators] to safety if you can and [they should] read my sentence – ‘we don’t want you, fuck you’.
Wolff said he had ‘no explanation’ for their behavior, believing drinking was ‘no excuse’ but said he had not heard of any abuse at the races previous this season.
Mercedes invited a fan into her garage during the grand prix after hearing shortly before the race that she had had her skirt pushed up by other fans who made fun of her for being a fan of Hamilton.
“We found out it happened and it just didn’t,” Wolff explained.
Seven-time Mercedes world champion Lewis Hamilton – the championship’s most prominent voice against hate and discrimination – called it “shock” and “just really sad”.
“Just knowing that someone sitting in a crowd supporting someone else is being abused is, it’s crazy to think we’re still going through those things in 2022,” Hamilton said.
“We need to keep doing more, it just underscores that this is still a problem everywhere, and it comes down to education. We all need to work together, with our platforms, to spread this positive word with all of our platforms to all those people watching.
“People who come here should feel safe, should feel included and should be able to follow whoever you want to follow – and it doesn’t matter your gender, your sexuality, the color of your skin. It should just be everyone here having a good time.
His team-mate George Russell echoed Hamilton’s thoughts saying “more needs to be done to stop this kind of behaviour, it’s horrifying to hear”.
Austrian GP winner Charles Leclerc called it “unacceptable” while 2022 points leader Max Verstappen said these things shouldn’t happen anywhere.
“I read a few things, a few shocking things,” said Verstappen – who has a big fan base at the Austrian GP.
“And that’s clearly not OK and I shouldn’t even need to say it, I think it should be a general understanding, that these things shouldn’t happen, a normal human being, I think, should think like that and should behave like that.”
His Red Bull team released another statement condemning the abuse on Sunday evening.
“While we all appreciated the passionate support of the majority of Spielberg fans this weekend, we are shocked to learn that there have been incidents of completely unacceptable behavior in the stands and fan parks,” did he declare.
“We hope that security and the authorities will take care of this quickly. There is no place for that in racing or in society as a whole.
“We value inclusion and want a safe space for fans to enjoy our sport.”