F1 drivers call for ban on abusive fans


Mexican driver Sergio Pérez called for a lifetime ban on aggressive fans during Formula One racing and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton urged the community to come together to end this behavior following recent events.

The drivers were surprised two weeks ago during the Austrian Grand Prix when fans reported bullying, sexism, racism and homophobia in the Red Bull stands on social media to F1. F1 condemned the behavior before the start of the race and said it would speak to the promoter about what happened.

With the series turning to the French Grand Prix, Perez and Hamilton were among the drivers who insisted on Thursday that this behavior must be addressed.

“These fans do not represent the sport, they do not share the values ​​and they are not welcome. It’s as simple as that,” said Red Bull’s Perez. “Hopefully they will be banned for life, they will not be welcomed back. I think a few fans shouldn’t be allowed to embarrass us like that.”

Hamilton, who was booed after he crashed his Mercedes during practice in Austria, said F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali is working on a solution.

“We need to do more. I know that Formula One and Stefano are focused on doing more and they are definitely taking it seriously, especially after the last race,” said Hamilton, adding that the entire industry must do its part.

Hamilton credited football for taking proactive steps. Football tries to combat fan abuse by broadcasting anti-discrimination messages before matches.

Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel praised those who reported the abuse, which he believes has been prevalent for years but has been made public thanks to a younger and more savvy fan base on social media.

“I think there has been a change in the fan base. I think we can see a younger audience on the circuits,” Vettel said. “I think the abuse has always existed. It’s amazing to see people who have the courage to speak up.”

Fans in the Red Bull area at Spielberg in Austria — where members of the so-called “Orange Army” dedicated to Max Verstappen have their own area — applauded Hamilton’s crash. The previous week Verstappen and his Red Bull boss Christian Horner were booed by Hamilton supporters during the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Aggressive fan behavior should not prevail at the Paul Ricard circuit in Le Castellet, in the south of France. The circuit does not have a big fan base for Verstappen or Hamilton. But the next Grand Prix is ​​in Hungary and last year Hamilton was booed at the Hungaroring after his dramatic first lap clash with Verstappen at Silverstone.

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