Circuit atmosphere, Red Bull Ring, 2022

F1 raises concerns over “unacceptable” fan behaviour with Austrian GP promoter

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 has acknowledged concerns over the behaviour of some fans at the Austrian Grand Prix after reports of racist, homophobic and misogynistic abuse were posted on social media.

A spokesperson for the series confirmed it will raise the reports with the promoters of the event at the Red Bull Ring.

“We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the event,” said the spokesperson. “We have raised this with the promoter and security and will be speaking to those who have reported these incidents and are taking this very seriously.

“This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated and all fans should be treated with respect.”

Several complaints about the behaviour of some fans were posted on social media yesterday.

“The behaviour has been… disappointing,” wrote one Twitter user. “My expectations were low but, holy cow, racist, homophobic slurs, cat-calling, inappropriate talking and touching the list goes on.”

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“I can also confirm that it is bad,” wrote another user on Twitter, who claimed they were targeted within an hour and a half of arriving at their campsite at the track. “I got a misogynistic comment, and afterwards it went downhill with inappropriate touching and many more misogynistic comments.”

“I thought last year it was bad but this year is worst,” they added. “It is sad [because] the grand prix itself is so wonderful!”

RaceFans understands that the race organisers are increasing the presence of security and stewards in grandstand and fan areas around the circuit for the final day of the event. Anyone attending the race who feels unsafe is being encouraged to find a steward or security personnel and report any inappropriate behaviour.

Lewis Hamilton said in a social media post he was “disgusted and disappointed to hear that some fans are facing racist, homophobic and generally abusive behaviour at the circuit this weekend.”

“Attending the Austrian Grand Prix or any GP should never be a source of anxiety and pain for fans and something must be clone to ensure that races are safe spaces for all,” he added. “Please, if you see this happening, report it to circuit security and to F1, we cannot sit back and allow this to continue.”

More on this story: Mercedes brought Hamilton fan into garage after sexist abuse at Austrian GP

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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55 comments on “F1 raises concerns over “unacceptable” fan behaviour with Austrian GP promoter”

  1. Certain drunk men protected by pack mentality really can’t behave themselves. Everyone should be entitled to a safe and pleasant environment, and I agree that the promotor needs to make this happen. Glad it’s getting called out.

    1. Certain drunk men

      Women, too.
      And, no doubt, also their children.

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      10th July 2022, 12:21

      Agreed. It’s turning into a football ground with disrespectful tribal behaviours. Big shift in the fan base over the last few years.

      1. Very true. This year I attended my first race in several years and the ‘fan’ base is quite different. Not in a good way.

    3. A lot of new Fans with no general Racing support background, the Race is important not you or the team in 1st place.
      And the setting of organization is more festival/party-like, also a step away from the Race.

      This contributes to the setting and including of less sport minded attendees.

  2. Will they call out the safety car?

    1. The safe space car.

  3. F1 will have become footballized before you know it. When you don’t have peace and justice inside the track, you won’t get any outside of it

    1. Constantijn Blondel
      10th July 2022, 10:50

      Sir, you make an excellent point.

    2. I made the same exact comment on this site a year ago during the Austrian GP. There is a common denominator in this process but I feel everyone is afraid to call it out loud for profits reasons (attendance sell out).

    3. Judging by behavours over the last decade, my beloved F1 has already become footbalised. Organisers, F1 and the FIA need to get it under control again, I certainly would not attend another GP now, at least not until it has been brought back under control.

  4. Considering the amount of negative comments on this site on every article about equality/diversity/inclusivity, such as people using terms like “woke” and “virtue signalling” I’m not massively surprised this has spilled over into personal abuse in the crowds at the circuits.

    1. I mean, you see it on this site because it’s a thing you see in society as a whole. And honestly, it’s not even that bad if you put it into the context in which it started, which is the societal shift that is currently happening, where people have started being held accountable for their behaviour. It’s pushback against accountability by those who never had to be.

      Over time the pushback will fade, and all that remains is the accountability.

      1. Electroball76
        10th July 2022, 11:14

        Sadly I don’t know how much it will fade. People have been asking for fair treatment for centuries now and the progress has been somewhat patchy.

      2. Richard Lancaster
        10th July 2022, 12:40

        or they win and the world loses….yeah!?

    2. Its been pretty obvious for a few years now that a unsavory element was on the rise. I don’t think the people have changed its just dangerous right wing views have become more prominent with populist politics in the west. Society is heading backwards at the moment.

      1. Agreed. People feel enabled to behave this way because of the actions of those in powerful positions.

        Not helped by the culture wars where anyone raising issues of injustice are labelled negatively as “woke” by those powerful people and their followers.

      2. What makes it worse are the campings and the amount of alcohol. I’ve been at Zandvoort ant the atmosphere is totally different also a lot more women and children at Zandvoort. At the campings only middle aged men are going and a lot of them are not going there because of F1 but only to party. As a dutch person I feel ashamed. A woman should never ever feel unsafe at these events!!

    3. What an insanely arrogant comment! @oweng, putting two completely non-related things under one banner is a disgusting display of manipulation. Stop it!
      I, for example, am against wokeness and virtue signalling as well as I’m against sports hooliganism of any kind. So please stop misrepresenting people just to express your hate towards them.

    4. @oweng there are a number of women saying that this is going beyond just verbal abuse, with several reporting that they have been physically assaulted and sexually abused whilst there.

      Sadly, it seems that there were complaints about problems with drunken violence, harassment and threatening behaviour by some fans for several years now, but those complaints seem to have been ignored – with the result being that it has become significantly worse this year.

  5. On Twitter anyone can write whatever they want, there is no evidence.

    For me it is unbelievable that F1 itself refers to such sources. With such a polarised fan community, also driven by the media, it is normal that a spontaneous group of people can try to attack another group.

    1. For me it’s unbelievable that you honestly think this didn’t happen and it’s just some spontaneous attack on “a group.” What group? Why are they being targetted? Who gains from this targetting?

      Or could it just be that drunk men were being drunk you-know-whats to women?

      1. Shame on him for not believing everything on Twitter is true

      2. Please, you think that this was such a huge event it requires all this media coverage and driver statements, but not enough that anyone got a SINGLE picture or video of it happening…

        If you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell ya

    2. @chase423 no offence but comments like yours is precisely the reason WHY F1 is toxic.
      The twitter user who made the valid criticism looks like a real person to me maybe a Gasly superfan and not a pro Lewis 4d chess account from a mainland china trollfarm trying to make dutch fans look bad.

      I understand that US owners of F1 libertymedia want to ‘Americanise’ F1 and turn it into a clown show zoomer friendly sport with astroturfed hype, balkanized fanbase and artificial drama but the downside of this created the rise of the max superfans aka 30+ year old drunk dutch football ultras who worship their national god.

      Dutch superfans ALWAYS cry “but the BrItIsH fans” and there is some super secret conspiracy by the British press and British based f1 Mercedes amg F1 team to fraudulently make Lewis a 7x WDC due to woke affirmative action…

      Do people forget that their was never any issues when Lewis was battling seb 2017-2018? It has only got out of control when Austrian sugarwater billionaire pushed the next wunderkind who was a son of a mediocre journeyman and FIA turned the last race of 2021 into a staged WWE farce.

      1. Hamilton and Bottas were indeed booed in Monza in 2017 and 2018. There are plenty of articles about it. This isn’t unique to any fanbase, but sadly much more common in Europe than at other venues. That said, the Hamilton and Verstappen title fight of 2021 was rather nasty from all sides, so that probably made it worse than it had been previously.

        1. I feel there is a quite some difference between the booing we sometimes hear at races (of what I personally feel is the opposite of cheering) and the in this article described racist, homophobic and misogynistic abuse.

      2. I tell it like it is. I am not part of the polarisation, I am objective.

        I don’t think you are a person worth taking up the subject with. The comparison to the fight with Sebastian is futile and is not comparable. A lot has changed in F1 since then, but judging by the way you replay me, the theses you put in your statement, you are not worthy of being brought to my attention. You need to keep an open mind.

        My friends came to Austria this weekend, one couple sympathise with Mercedes, nothing bad happened to them. But beware, that doesn’t mean there aren’t situations that shouldn’t be there. It all depends on how you look at the situation and how you see it. Scale does matter.

        And if you’re saying something about chess, Gasly fans then you’ve got a lesson to do and analyse most of the profiles that complaints come from.

        And the fact that F1 is so toxic is a product of many factors. In truth, no one wants to fight it. Not the fans, not the media, not F1.

  6. The fact that there are very few comments in this post which otherwise would have been full tells you the story that modern F1 is so much compliant with these kind of behaviour!!! If it was Britain, the reactions would be different. This behaviour is all created by the toxic words and slurs that’s buildup by Team RB themselves. Helmut and Horner created and fueld such environment.

  7. Electroball76
    10th July 2022, 10:18

    Just ban alcohol from the site. Crowd will be better behaved. Simples.

    1. MAGA: “Make Austria Great Again”. USA virus in action.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        10th July 2022, 11:34

        What are you even on about

  8. These are not F1 fans. They are Dutch football hooligans whom always hated F1, but have turned into Max Verstappen fans because of his success. They are a disgrace to F1, to Max and to Netherlands in general. They are the reason I don’t visit Spa anymore.

    1. I do math for a living.

    2. the orange muppet from down under…

    3. Rocket Science it is not.

      Oh, and the girl taken into the MB garage since she was sexually harassed by Durch fans because she was a Lewis fan.

      That might give away the answer

  9. Oh dear. Is this result of bringing F1 to the masses? One of the most appealing things about motorsport to me has always been the mutual respect between fans and that the number of neutrals often outweighed the fanatics. I don’t think I’ve ever actually met a fanatical fan of any one driver or team now that I think about it. Perhaps the side effect of making F1 so much more mainstream is that it’s drawing in fans of other sports that have such a different mentality when it comes to supporting your team/player. Pretty much the reason I gave up caring about attending other sporting events live…

    1. I think you are right. The promoter Netflixed the sport into a circus and there you are. All for the money. And it was so blatantly obvious this would happen from the get go as well. Fueled by toddlers Christian and Toto it is a recipe for disaster.

    2. I’ve been a race fan for over 50 years, i saw Mario win Indy from track side when I was 7; watched Senna and Prost duke it out in Detroit in ’89. I have camped at races my entire life. I love camping at races because campers and outdoor types are such a solid down to earth bunch. I have never once felt threatened and always had more help than needed if a situation occurred.

      Maybe it is the rush to inclusion, diversity, and the like, but I find it sad we have come to this point in the world. F1 is a huge platform and it is being used as such by many groups. Racing is not the only driving factor in F1’s recent fan base changes.

      Diversity brings politics. that is the sad truth. Many of the new people are not coming as fans of F1, but for the world stage to showcase their views to be heard…or forced down out throats in some cases. Silverstone from 10 days ago ring any bells. And Politely telling them not to protest ahead of time…What! Who is in charge, children!

      My mother always said, don’t discuss politics and religion in groups, including family gatherings…nothing good ever seems to come from it other than hurt feeling and permanently damaged relationships.

      I get frustrated by the message F1 sends at times, but still, I have not missed a track session in 30 years. Watched Senna crash live, still remember it like yesterday, gives me goosebumps thinking of it. Time kind of stopped for a half hour as we knew, but still prayed for a different outcome. I love F1 and the purity of racing, but that is where it ends for me. I get politics everywhere I turn, please don’t ruin our races.

      The driving passion of Charles, Max, Lewis and the rest are why I watch. Period. If only we could stop drivers whining about let me past my teammate. I’ll take yesterdays battle with Ferrari any day over the normal; move over, we’ll let you back by if he isn’t quicker BS.

      Note to F1, fire your camera operators and editors, not every shot has to be a closeup and rapid fire camera switches. This isn’t a twitter feed. Let us watch the cars properly as they race. I can look at pictures if I want to see closeups of any car.

      1. The extreme close ups at every opportunity drive me crazy. I want to see the attitude of the car, not a drivers visor.

  10. If this isn’t the reason to ban this buffoon from this site, I don’t know what is.

  11. As a dutch Max fan I am ashamed by this disgusting behavior by some dutch fans in Austria. People who misbehave should get a life long ban for attending F1 races!

    1. As a dutch F1 fan: totally agree! Anyone who visits a race should have a great time and feel safe. If you tolarate this, great events like this will go to waste. So ban the guys who do this.

      1. Richard van den Berg
        11th July 2022, 21:43

        As an RB fan from the Vettel era, (watching F1 since Prost and Senna) now a Max fan because Dutch and his open view.
        I must say, although i can understand the boo’ing against Lewis ( he complains about being boo’d at at Austria when he crashed “i could be in hospital blah blah), but forget that Max was at the hospital while Lewis made it the celebration of the year at Silverstone, i don’t like it to be taken out on fans of the sport, we are all there to have a good time, no matter who you cheer for.
        Coming back to the main point, if inside the Verstappen tribune, there was only 1 Mercedes / Lewis fan, they should feel as safe and appreciated as everyone else!
        F1 has a reputation where every fan can sit next to eachother, congratulate eachother and have fun together.
        Let’s keep it that way, we as fans don’t want to be part of the media machine

  12. yes because a random female gasly fan who posted her unbiased honest opinion on a social media platform is somehow an agenda driven liar posting comment to make max and dutch fans look bad(!)

    Sometimes i think posts like yours are trollfarm accounts posting just to create astroturf engagement, mentioning Lewis not winning 8xWDC(he was robbed) last year which has zero relevance to the story is a perfect example how much the max superfans are a toxic disgrace to F1.

    I never seen this level of toxicity on this site prior to the 2021 season.

    1. Agreed. I’ve been a visitor since 2005, and this is the worst it’s ever been. I’m on the verge of cancelling my sub here because the comments section is becoming unreadable.

      1. I’ve asked about a blocking function but no reply. It ruins this site that every article descends into this sort of nonsense. I’m tired of scrolling through it all in search of reasoned debate.

  13. Disgusting comment. But pretty standard coming from you.

    Do you seriously think this statement comes off the back of one unfounded twitter allegation.

    Whether you say this stuff to deliberately troll or whether you actively believe it, it says it all about you as a person that this is the stand you take.

    1. His comment did trigger my curiosity however.

      “We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the event,”

      Some fans. Could be like 5 of the 100k+ attendants. They agressors will have to be dealt with for this unacceptable behavior for sure, but the generalisation the media (deliberately?) subsequently triggers is hardly ever under scrutiny. There is increasingly a little (in numbers) minority that steers the media narratives and this is a true danger to our society as the stories do not represent the people or scene of events at all.

  14. The fact that Formula 1 itself has acknowledged this has happened should signal that this in fact did happen. This comment in itself confirms that you are just a troll on this platform so I will in future, and recommend others do, ignore every comment you post.

  15. According to the Guardian, the reports of assaults and abusive behavior were primarily coming from the stands where Verstappen fans were concentrated. Something this article carefully avoids mentioning.

    It’s time F1, and F1 media, addressed this elephant in the room. Verstappen’s success (the first Dutch driver to win a GP) has brought in a large number of “fans” who previously had no interest in F1 or racing at all. Many of these fans have no understanding of F1’s history and ethos and show more of a football attitude: trash-talking, crude, ignorant insults, abuse of other drivers and their fans, even open racism. I’ve seen this getting steadily worse on F1 forums and comment sections for years now – as the ultra-partisan, trollish behavior grows, many old fans have stopped participating.

    It was inevitable that this behavior would escalate into physical abuse, as we are now seeing in Austria. It’s time the media started identifying the culprits, instead of pretending not to see the common factor uniting the perpetrators.

  16. HJ – Where does the article attribute the despicable behaviour to fans of a particular team / driver? Why did you automatically assume that it must be Max’s fan base?

  17. Agent: “So what do you call yourselves?”

    Dutch fans: “The Aristocrats!!!”

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