In a stand against social media toxicity and online abuse, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has revealed that action will be taken to target vile trolls, who have been targeting a number of F1 and FIA personnel with “hate posts”.
2022 has been a disgusting year for Formula 1 in regard to social media, with the online landscape having become a dark and mentally damaging one.
It is a regular occurrence now for people to be victims of online abuse on a daily basis, for simply stating their opinion or revealing which team and or driver they support.
A lot of it has stemmed from Max Verstappen’s battle with Lewis Hamilton last year, with a hatred having been created between the fanbases.
This has carried over into this year, where it’s gotten to a point where Hamilton believes everyone should “come off” all social platforms.
Red Bull have been particularly targeted as of late, following their $2.2 million breach of the 2021 budget cap.
To take a stand against bullying and disrespectfulness, Verstappen and the Austrian side boycotted talking to broadcaster Sky at the Mexican Grand Prix, following a number of comments made specifically by Sky reporter Ted Kravitz.
Kravitz has been caught calling Hamilton an eight-time World Champion and has even said that the 37-year-old was ‘robbed’, with it all having become too much for the newly crowned double World Champion to deal with.
Verstappen revealed that the TV networks have a responsibility to help fight online abuse, but that Sky’s comments in particular were “making it worse”.
“You cannot live in the past and you have to move on,” said Verstappen.
“Social media is a very toxic place and if you are constantly being like that live on TV then you are making it worse instead of trying to make it better.”
Following what Verstappen said, Hamilton admitted that “we should all come off social media”, due to the concerningly toxic place it’s become.
Ben Sulayem has echoed points made by both drivers in a recent column, where he took aim at those who are being “totally unacceptable” to “volunteers”, with female steward Silvia Bellot having recently been targeted by inhumane trolls with harassment.
With people’s mental health being as challenging as it is currently with all that is going on in the world, the FIA president explained that what people are saying online is having a “devastating effect”.
“It is utterly deplorable that a volunteer such as Silvia or any of our marshals and officials, who volunteer their time to allow us to go racing, is the subject of such hatred,” Ben Sulayem said in a Motorsport.com column.
“Indeed a number of FIA staff have also been targeted with harassment and hate posts over the past few years.
“It is totally unacceptable that our volunteers, officials and employees are subjected to this extreme abuse. It has no place in our sport. It has a devastating effect on our mental health and that of our loved ones.
“I will always stand up for my staff and volunteers. And let me be clear – without these people there would be no racing.
“We have to ask ourselves, who would want to pursue becoming a top official in this environment? The reality is obvious – if this continues it will destroy our sport.”