Formula 1 spoke out after several people present at the Red Bull Ring, which hosts the Austrian GP this weekend, reported on social media cases of harassment against women, racist and homophobic insults coming from some fans. The category said it was aware of the events and vowed to take action for what it called “unacceptable behavior”.
The behavior of the fans in Austria – the vast majority supporting Max Verstappen and, consequently, the home team – had already drawn attention in qualifying for the sprint race. During Q3, as soon as Lewis Hamilton crashed, the stands were elated. The Mercedes driver strongly repudiated the attitude.
But what happens on the Spielberg circuit is not just a matter of team rivalry. Many women, especially, took to the networks to share how uncomfortable it has been to attend the race track to follow F1. “The behavior has been so… disappointing. My expectations weren’t very good anymore, but oh my, racism, name-calling, harassment… the list goes on,” one fan wrote on Twitter.
“I can also say that it’s horrible. Not even 1h30 of the event since I arrived, in the morning, and I’ve already received misogynistic comments. Then it went downhill, inappropriate touches and other misogynistic comments”, said another fan also on the social network.
On Instagram, the profile “Team LH Netherlands”, in support of Hamilton, shared an absurd situation reported by a fan of the Englishman present at the Red Bull Ring. “I felt it, as a Hamilton fan among the orange army. Yesterday a group of five Dutch Max fans held up my dress and when I confronted them they said Hamilton fans didn’t deserve any respect.”
In a statement, F1 promised to take action. “We are aware of reports that some fans were the subject of completely unacceptable comments from other fans during the event. We raised this with the promoter. [da corrida] and with local security and we will listen to everyone who has reported such incidents and is taking them very seriously. This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. All fans must be treated with respect.”