Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton has called out the homophobic and racist harassment that fans experienced at the Austrian Grand Prix.
On 9 July, the popular race took place at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria.
While a majority of fans attended the event to support the array of talented drivers, some spectators were called out for creating a hostile environment.
Across numerous social media posts, Grand Prix attendees revealed that they were verbally abused over their gender and sexuality.
One Twitter user wrote: “The behaviour has been… disappointing. my expectations were low, but holy cow, racist, homophobic slurs, cat calling, inappropriate talking and touching the list goes on.”
Another fan tweeted: “Genuinely had to fight off a panic attack and not cry the whole walk back to the exit bc I was scared. We’re coming back for the race tomorrow, but we are never coming back to this Grand Prix ever again, and that’s a promise.”
Alongside the use of homophobic and sexist slurs, one spectator revealed that “five Dutch fans” of driver Max Verstappen spewed out racial slurs towards Hamilton and his supporters, as reported by The Guardian.
After the race concluded on 9 July, Hamilton condemned the actions of the various Formula 1 fans via his Instagram Story.
“Disgusted and disappointed to hear that some fans are facing racist, homophobic and generally abusive behaviour at the circuit this weekend,” he 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.”
On 10 July, Formula 1 and Verstappen also released their own statements echoing similar sentiments.
“We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the Austrian Grand Prix,” Formula 1 said via Twitter.
“We take these matters very seriously, have raised them with the promoter and event security and will be speaking to those who reported the incidents. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Verstappen added: “These things shouldn’t happen. I read a few shocking things that are clearly not OK. I should not even need to say this, it should be a general understanding that these things shouldn’t happen.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 10, 2022