Homophobic, sexist, racist insults and insults… Many acts of harassment were reported last weekend inside the Red Bull Ring, triggering a reaction from F1 and the drivers.
“It’s horrible to see this” commented bluntly Charles Leclerc, who expects firm action from the FIA on the subject.
“I saw the statement from Formula 1 just before the race and yes, I just hope Formula 1 can do something about it. I don’t know how this can be fixed, but obviously it’s unacceptable to see this anywhere, but obviously if we can do something, we should and must do something. »
Very committed to social issues, Lewis Hamilton also had a thought for the few supporters, lost in the orange army, who supported Mercedes.
“Yes, I arrived yesterday morning with a very positive frame of mind and then I heard some of the things that had been said and I was a bit shocked and really sad. You should know that people come on weekends to have a good time, to party, to enjoy their free time and to have a great experience. And you know, if you go to the UK, obviously we have a lot of fans going there. Here, of course, at the Red Bull Ring, there are a lot of Orange Army, and so when we go around the parade, you have to look closely to see the neon caps [Mercedes]they stand out a bit better, but there aren’t as many as the orange ones here. But when you notice someone sitting in the crowd, supporting someone else, and getting name-calling, it’s… It’s crazy to think we’re still going through these things in 2022.”
What should F1 do in the face of such acts of harassment according to the Mercedes driver? He puts the sport under pressure. By harshly criticizing the actions taken so far.
“I haven’t given much thought to finding solutions to what the sport should do. This brings us back to some of the messages we talked about about what we need to do within sport, which is to commit more to diversity and inclusion. Because it reflects where we’re headed and it also often reflects what our fanbase looks like. »
” It’s time to act. “We Race as One” was all well and good, but it was only words. There hasn’t been funding for anything, there hasn’t been a program to create change and fuel that conversation. »
“So definitely using our platforms, but we really need to step up and really start taking action on some of the things that we’re saying. Just saying a few words…it’s not enough. This is unacceptable. It’s not sufficient. »
And Charles Leclerc? What is he proposing and will he be as outspoken as Lewis Hamilton against sport?
“Yes, well, first of all, I believe that as a community, people who witness any type of harassment should step up and do something. And of course, as Formula 1, if we manage to find these people, we have to take stern measures, they should not be allowed near our sport, I believe. »
“Like Lewis said, as riders we obviously have global followings, we have to talk about that. And so people, obviously, listen to us a little more and do that kind of stuff. »
Verstappen raises the problem of alcohol in the stands
Max Verstappen, who deemed the boos from the orange crowd at the Red Bull Ring against Lewis Hamilton unjustified, also called for calm and action. As well as sobriety!
“Something can be improved, maybe with the security around the venue, you know, to keep people more in check, supervise them. And don’t forget either, that’s no excuse, but of course they watch the races and then they go back to partying and having fun and drinking alcohol. And sometimes, when you drink alcohol, you can do stupid things. I don’t say this as an excuse, but these things can also be regulated. »