Formula One has condemned the racist abuse Lewis Hamilton has been subjected to following his win at the British Grand Prix.
F1, alongside the sport’s governing body, the FIA, and Hamilton’s Mercedes team issued a joint statement in reaction to the abuse which came after Hamilton was involved in a crash that put Red Bull’s Max Verstappen out of the race. Red Bull have also issued an unequivocal condemnation of the abuse calling for those responsible to be held accountable.
Hamilton was racing wheel to wheel with Verstappen on the opening lap of the race when he attempted to pass the Dutchman up the inside of the fast Copse corner. The pair clipped wheels and Verstappen was spun off into the barriers at 180mph with a 51-G impact. He appeared unharmed and was later released from hospital after a check up.
Hamilton went on to win despite receiving a 10-second time penalty having been adjudged to have caused a collision by the stewards. On Sunday he was then subjected to racial abuse across social media.
On Monday morning F1 issued their statement. “During, and after, yesterday’s British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton was subjected to multiple instances of racist abuse on social media following an in-race collision,” it read. “Formula One, The FIA and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms. These people have no place in our sport and we urge that those responsible should be held accountable for their actions.
“Formula One, the FIA, the drivers and the teams are working to build a more diverse and inclusive sport, and such unacceptable instances of online abuse must be highlighted and eliminated.”
Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner, had been highly critical of Hamilton on Sunday and Verstappen had described Hamilton’s move as “desperate” and his behaviour as “disrespectful and unsportsmanlike”. However, the team was swift in calling out the racism as unacceptable. “While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism,” Red Bull said in a statement. “We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans. There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable.”
Last week, England footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were subjected to sustained racist abuse online after missing penalties in the final of Euro 2020 and now the Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, has insisted sports people should not have to tolerate such behaviour.
“We have seen it in the football in the European Championship and the abuse that is absolutely not acceptable, and the same yesterday. I still question whether some just don’t get it,” he said. “This is not acceptable and we will react to it.”