Veteran Formula 1 photographer, Mark Thompson, has allegedly been assaulted by a member of the Hungaroring security team at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Thompson, who has been working independently in the pinnacle of motorsport since 2003, was performing his duties on Friday during practice when he appeared to be affronted by a security officer.
In the first picture, the officer could be seen arguing with Thompson and exchanging verbal barbs with him.
“The friendly face of F1 trackside security Hungary style!” tweeted Thompson.
The second picture appeared to show the guard having struck Thompson, who now had a cut on his lower lip from the hit.
“The friendly face of Hungarian trackside security pt2 the slap across the face (note cut to lip),” added the photographer.
1996 world champion Damon Hill was shocked by the developments, replying “what the hell?” under Thompson’s tweet, while former F1 driver and Hill’s Sky colleague Karun Chandhok said. “WTF?! Are you ok mate?”
Motorsport commentator Harry Benjamin revealed that he had also had some unpleasant dealings with the guard in question.
“I had a stand-off with this same guy last year during a GT race, nasty bloke,” he explained.
The latest case of violence and abuse in the paddock and around the racetrack follows on from the events of the Austrian Grand Prix just a few weeks ago, during which fans perpetrated discriminatory abuse and sexual harassment.
Formula 1 said that they would be working with security to help tackle the issue, but it appears it was security themselves who were dishing out the violence this time.
Ahead of this weekend in Budapest, F1 explained that abuse such as that suffered by Thompson at the hands of a member of staff is not welcome.
“Formula 1 is all about competition and rivalries, but also respect,” said a statement.
“Respect as competitors, respect for our fans, respect for the whole F1 family.
“Abuse of any kind is not welcome online, or anywhere in F1.
“We are united and ask you all to join us in driving this out of all sport and society. We have a duty to call this out and say – ‘no more.’
“Those who hide behind social media with abusive and disrespectful views are not our fans. If you cannot be respectful, then don’t be part of our sport.
“Drive it out. Together.”