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F1 Condemns ‘Unacceptable’ Behavior Amid Reports of Fan Abuse – Sports Illustrated

Red Bull Ring ahead of Austrian Grand Prix
IMAGO / ANP
Formula One released a statement Sunday as reports of fan harassment and abuse at the Austrian Grand Prix surfaced on social media. 
Over the last few days, fans shared accounts of racist, anti-LGBTQ+ and misogynistic abuse directed toward them.  
“We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the event,” F1’s statement said. “We have raised this with the promoter and security and will be speaking to those who have reported these incidents and are taking this very seriously. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and all fans should be treated with respect.”
Both Alpine and Ferrari quote-tweeted F1’s statement in solidarity. According to reporter Chris Medland, the FIA said they “fully support Formula 1’s message and believe that Formula 1 events should be a safe and accepting environment for everyone.” It has been reported that security was increased at Red Bull Ring on race day. 
Lewis Hamilton condemned the fan behavior on Sunday ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix with a statement on his Instagram story. 
“Disgusted and disappointed to hear that some fans are facing racist, homophobic and generally abusive behaviour at the circuit this weekend,” Hamilton wrote. “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 that races are safe spaces for all. Please, if you see this happening, report it to circuit security and to F1, we cannot sit back and allow this to continue.”
Other drivers and team principals also spoke out about the abusive behavior, Sebastian Vettel going as far as to say the sport should take a “zero tolerance” approach.
“Horrible isn’t it? I think it is good that this stuff comes out, that’s the start, but it is horrible,” Vettel said following the Austrian GP, per Autosport. “Whoever these people are, they should be ashamed of themselves and they should be banned from racing events for their lives.
“I think there should be zero tolerance. If people have a good time and drink too much that’s OK, but it doesn’t justify or excuse wrong behavior. We race as one, so, the fans are a part of that.”
Daniel Ricciardo said, per Autosport, he is going to meet several of the fans affected by this abusive behavior. He added, in part, “Yeah, absolutely. To be honest, I just heard about it after the race now, and I heard that there’s a few victims and fans who I believe are in the paddock, so we’re gonna go and say g’day to a few of them and give them a bit of love.
“I hate negativity, I don’t like talking about negative news, but if that’s going on then it’s a damn shame. I got asked yesterday about the booing when Lewis crashed and I get everyone’s here to have a good time, drink a few beers and get a little rowdy but obviously there’s a limit to a lot of things.”
Max Verstappen condemned the behavior during the post-race press conference, saying, “Of course it’s not good. These things shouldn’t happen… I read a few shocking things, so that’s clearly not O.K.
“I shouldn’t even need to say this, I think this should be a general understanding that these things shouldn’t happen. A normal human being should think like that and should behave like that.”
According to multiple reports, Mercedes has been in contact with one woman who said a group of drunk fans lifted up her dress, saying she did not deserve respect as she is a Hamilton fan. 
“If you abuse, in whatever way, sexist, racist, homophobic, you’re just simply brainless, and no alcohol can excuse that,” team boss Toto Wolff said, per Autosport. “That the sport polarises and triggers emotions, we want that. But again, we should condemn and [say] that these few idiots to stay away from us.”
Fan behavior has been a talking point this weekend as spectators cheered when Hamilton crashed during qualifying. 
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