RACING

Lewis Hamilton calls out fans for abusive behavior at Austrian Grand Prix

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Saying he was “disgusted and disappointed” by reports of abusive behavior among fans at the Austrian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and other drivers urged Formula 1 officials to take action to support their initiative.” We Race as One”.

“Someone sitting in a crowd supporting someone and experiencing abuse – it’s crazy to think we’re still going through these things in 2022 so we need to keep doing more,” Hamilton, the sport’s first and only black driver, told reporters after his third place in the race. “It just highlights that this is a problem everywhere and it comes down to education and of course ignorance. We all need to work together with our platforms to spread this positive message. …

“People should come here, should feel safe, should feel included, and should be able to follow whoever you want to follow. It doesn’t matter… your gender, your sexuality, the color of your skin. It should just be everyone here having a good time.

The Guardian reported on fan behavior, citing “sexist calls, homophobic abuse and inappropriate touching of female fans” as well as the use of the n-word.

“Disgusted and disappointed to learn that some fans are facing racist, homophobic and generally abusive behavior on the circuit this weekend,” said Hamilton (by Twitter). “Attending the Austrian Grand Prix or any GP should never be a source of anxiety and pain for fans and something must be done to ensure the races are safe spaces for all. please, if you see this happening, report it to circuit security and @F1. We cannot sit back and let this continue.”

Formula 1 officials have acknowledged that some fans were ‘subject to totally unacceptable comments from other people at the event’ in a report published on Sunday. “We have raised this issue with the promoter and security and will speak to those who have reported these incidents and take this very seriously.

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and all fans should be treated with respect.”

Security had been tightened on Sunday and around 60,000 Dutch fans were present at Spielberg to support Max Verstappen, the Belgian-Dutch driver who finished second to Charles Leclerc and leads him by 38 points in the standings. Versteppen called for closer monitoring of alcohol consumption by security personnel.

“I think one thing can be improved, maybe with the security around the venue, you know, to better control people,” Verstappen, the reigning F1 champion, said (via BBC). “And don’t forget either, that’s no excuse, but of course they watch the races and then they come home and party and have fun and drink alcohol. And sometimes when you drink alcohol, you can do stupid things. I’m not saying this as an excuse, but these things can also be regulated.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the team was “shocked to hear that there have been incidents of abusive behavior in the stands and fan parks. … We appreciate the inclusion and want a safe space for fans to enjoy our sport.

Lewis Hamilton calls for change; Nelson Piquet apologizes for racial slurs

Ferrari’s Leclerc called on fans to report any incidents of harassment, saying they “should take action and do something”. If we manage to find these people, we must take strong action, they should not be allowed near our sport.

Verstappen said he had “read a few shocking things that are clearly not acceptable. I shouldn’t even need to say it, it should be a general understanding that these things shouldn’t happen.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team brought a woman into their garage for safety after she contacted them on Twitter, accusing ‘five Dutch Max fans’ according to the Guardian of lifting ‘my dress and when I confronted them, they said no Hamilton fan deserved respect at all.

Toto Wolff, Hamilton’s team principal at Mercedes, has bluntly called for bold action by Formula 1 and for fans to stay away, confirming a woman has been brought into the team’s garage. “We just have to target these guys and select them,” he said. “That’s what Formula 1 said and we said and you have to report to security if you can. And anyone reading my sentence: stay away, we don’t want you if you do part of this group F— off.

Hamilton wants the sport to go beyond its ‘We Race as One’ slogan of inclusivity. ” It’s time to act. ‘We run as one’ was all well and good, but it was just words, it did nothing,” he said. “There was no funding for anything, there was no program to actually create change and start this conversation. We have to use our platforms. We need to step up and start practicing some of the things we say. Saying it is “unacceptable” is not enough.

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