Formula 1 is set to investigate reports of “unacceptable behaviour” amongst fans at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, after the organisation released an official statement over the matter.
We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the Austrian Grand Prix,” F1 said.
“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.”
Despite being one of the most vocal and atmospheric Grand Prix of the season, reports have been made of fans being subject to catcalling, homophobic and racist slurs, and other abusive comments.
Social media began to flood with people uploading videos and messages of what they’d experienced whilst at the event, with many feeling unwelcome and scared to attend going forward.
Sebastian Vettel has criticised the fans for their behaviour and called for them to be banned.
“Whoever these people are, they should be ashamed of themselves and they should be banned from racing events for their lives,” he said.
This weekend has seen record-breaking crowds, with over 100,000 expected on race day to be mainly cheering Max Verstappen on.
With the race being the home of Red Bull Racing, the circuit is usually filled in a see of orange, similar to how MotoGP used to be dominated by an ongoing wave of yellow in support of Valentino Rossi.
Some of the visiting Dutch fans have already been questioned for inappropriate behaviour, after cheering ferociously on Friday when Sir Lewis Hamilton crashed in Qualifying.
Similar happened to Verstappen last weekend at the British Grand Prix, with the pair’s 2021 rivalry still living strong in the memory of thousands of fans.
Hamilton was left shocked that fans cheered following his crash, but was also aware that similar cheers were made against Verstappen at Silverstone.
“I’m grateful that I wasn’t in hospital, and I wasn’t heavily injured, but you should never cheer someone’s downfall or someone’s injury or crash,” Hamilton said.
“It shouldn’t have happened in Silverstone, even though it wasn’t obviously a crash, and it shouldn’t have happened here.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff fully agreed with Hamilton’s comments, with the Mercedes boss going as far as calling the booing a “personal attack”.
As well as Verstappen, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also booed by British fans, something which Wolff is firmly against happening.
“The booing is a personal attack on the driver,” said Wolff.
“Fans should just put themselves in the position and that they are standing up there and they are being booed and I think that’s not right for the driver, that Christian [Horner] was being booed in Silverstone.
“I don’t think that’s right. So hopefully we can talk sense. We love the fans, we want them to be there, we want them to be emotional and passionate, but maybe when it gets personal that shouldn’t happen.”