Condemnation has been issued by F1, the FIA and several F1 teams after racist abuse was sent to reigning F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton on social media during and after the British Grand Prix.
A joint statement by the F1, FIA and Hamilton’s team Mercedes released on social media earlier today (19/07) confirmed the news that racist abuse was sent on different social media programmes in Hamilton’s direction after his victory in the race at Silverstone.
In a controversial British Grand Prix, Hamilton and primary championship rival Max Verstappen had a first lap collision that saw Verstappen crash out of the race at high speed. The Dutch driver had to go to hospital for check-ups following the crash, though has since left hospital after being given the all clear to go.
Hamilton was handed a time penalty for causing a collision, which saw 10 seconds added to his sole pit stop, but the British driver still won the race after taking the lead with two laps remaining.
The joint statement by Formula 1, the FIA and the Mercedes F1 team read, “During, and after, yesterday’s British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse on social media following an in-race collision.
“Formula 1, The FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms. These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.
“Formula 1, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.”
These views were also reinforced by Mercedes team CEO Toto Wolff, who called the abuse “unacceptable” in an interview with the BBC’s Today programme this morning.
He said, “We have seen it in the football in the European Championship and the abuse that is absolutely not acceptable, and the same yesterday, and I still question whether some just don’t get it.
“This is not acceptable and we will react to it.”
The abuse was further condemned by several other F1 teams and figures.
In their own statement, Verstappen’s team Red Bull said, “Whilst we may be fierce rivals off-track, we are all united against racism. We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans.
“As a team, we are disgusted and saddened to witness the racist abuse Lewis endured yesterday on social media after his collision with Max. There is never any excuse for it.”
This was backed up in a separate statement by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on social media. He said, “We have a zero tolerance approach to racist behaviour within our Team and I personally feel strongly that those responsible for this sort of abuse should be held to account.
“We will continue to support the FIA and F1 in order to eradicate this from our sport.”
Hamilton’s first team McLaren F1 also registered their disapproval. They said, “McLaren stands with Formula 1, the FIA, and our fellow teams and drivers in condemning the deplorable racist abuse towards Lewis Hamilton. Racism must be driven out of our sport, and it’s our shared responsibility to unite and eliminate it.”
Silverstone-based Aston Martin added, “We stand with @LewisHamilton and @MercedesAMGF1 in their condemnation of this unacceptable behaviour. Those responsible are not welcome in @F1.”
Racist abuse in sport has been a prominent topic of discussion after numerous racist abuse incidents arose on social media during several sporting events over the last year, culminating in high profile condemnation after three England players who missed penalties in the final of Euro 2020 earlier this month were sent racist abuse on social media.
Hamilton has been a keen advocate for greater racial equality. He was among several people critical of social media racism in the wake of the racist abuse sent to Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho in the wake of the Euro 2020 final.
In a post on Instagram the day after that game, he said, “I so badly wanted that win like all of you but for me it was for much more than winning the euros, it was a much bigger picture. However, the disgusting behaviour by the few, shows how much work that still needs to be done. I hope that this opens a conversation around acceptance. We must work towards a society that doesn’t require Black players to prove their value or place in society only through victory. Ultimately everyone on the England team should be so proud of their achievement and how they represented us.”