Formula 1, the FIA and Mercedes have condemned racist abuse targeted at Lewis Hamilton following his controversial victory in the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton won his home race for an eighth time after recovering from a 10-second time penalty he received for causing a collision with title rival Max Verstappen.
On the opening lap of the race, Hamilton tried to pass Verstappen into the fast Copse corner. He felt he was far enough alongside for Verstappen to yield while Verstappen’s Red Bull team slammed Hamilton for trying to overtake there.
During and after the race, racist remarks were sent to Hamilton and Mercedes on Twitter and Instagram, including the use of monkey emojis.
Hamilton is F1’s first and only Black driver and has devoted an increasing amount of time to highlight the issue of diversity in F1, and including the launching of his Hamilton Commission that recently published an in-depth report into the systemic issues behind that.
“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,” the joint statement read.
“Formula 1, 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 1, 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.”
Other F1 teams backed that stance with their own statements, including Red Bull.
A statement from Christian. 📝 pic.twitter.com/DOezZvXAQ5
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) July 19, 2021
“While we may be fierce rivals on-track, we are all united against racism,” Red Bull said.
“We condemn racist abuse of any kind towards our team, our competitors and our fans.
“As a team we are disgusted and saddened to witness the racist abuse Lewis endured yesterday on social media after the collision with Max.
“There is never any excuse for it, there is certainly no place for it in our sport and those responsible should be held accountable.”
Red Bull’s engine supplier Honda has also released a statement to the same effect, condemning “all forms of racist abuse”.
— Honda Racing F1 (@HondaRacingF1) July 19, 2021
The Race says
The abuse sent to Hamilton on Sunday highlighted the sort of overt racism that F1 is largely fortunate to avoid being a major problem.
Well, at least not to the degree seen in a sport like football, where racist attacks are a weekly occurrence if a player dares to commit the heinous crime of upsetting a keyboard warrior.
In F1, there is a problem with bias. But it’s usually unconscious. It’s linked to systemic issues. That’s the predominant form of discrimination.
Sadly, and disgustingly, an incident of this magnitude exposes the fact that the nasty, personal, overt stuff can still very much be a part of it.
It should open the eyes of everybody inside the F1 paddock and out of it, because this shows that there are vitriolic ‘fans’ – and that term is used in the loosest possible sense here – unafraid to broadcast their hate. Which is a different, but no less serious, problem for F1 to try to address.