Red Bull’s Sergio Perez echoes Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel’s sentiment that abusive Formula 1 fans should be banned from ever attending a race again.
There were horrible reports during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend of discrimination and harassment from drunk fans, and some of the victims were invited into the Mercedes and Aston Martin garages to help ease the pain of their experiences.
It was reported by some fans that Sir Lewis Hamilton had racist abuse thrown at him from the grandstands, and Vettel, among others, was disgusted by the events in Spielberg.
The four-time world champion called for permanent bans for those found to have been abusive at a grand prix.
“Whoever these people are, they should be ashamed of themselves and they should be banned from racing events for their lives,” he said, quoted by Reuters.
“I think there should be zero tolerance.”
Perez is on board with that idea, and he lamented the ‘embarrassing’ behaviour of some of the spectators a fortnight ago.
“We definitely should, hopefully, ban them for life don’t welcome them again, because they don’t represent who we are as a sport, and they don’t share our values at all,” said the Mexican, quoted by ESPN.
“But at the same time, we have great fans out there and with great values and I think a few fans shouldn’t be able to even embarrass our sport like that.”
F1 abandoned its “We Race As One” campaign ahead of the current season, but Hamilton conceded that this was always a superficial gesture anyway, and there needs to be more tangible action on discrimination in the pinnacle of motorsport.
“I think Formula One 100% should continue to do more,” added the seven-time champion.
“In the previous years we had the whole We Race As One thing, but that really was just a lip service that we’re not … we need to do more.”
The Mercedes driver has no doubt that F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali is doing all he can to tackle abuse in the sport, and he called on other teams, drivers and shareholders to start being a catalyst of change.
“And I know Formula 1 and Stefano are really focused on doing more and definitely taking it seriously this year, with the last race, but we can always do more,” explained Hamilton.
“Everyone can do more, every team, every company here can do more.
“It’s about accountability. God knows, there must be a thousand partners, I guess, within the Formula 1 organisation probably, or hundreds maybe and it’s about accountability with all those.
“What are they doing in their space in terms of… everyone should be pushing for diversity, inclusion and the messaging that we all use with our platforms.”
F1 released a statement during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend condemning the behaviour of some of the spectators.