Homophobic and racist abuse by fans cast shadow over Austrian GP as F1 and Lewis Hamilton slam ‘unacceptable’ harassment

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FORMULA ONE chiefs and Lewis Hamilton have condemned the “unacceptable” harassment reported by a number of fans at the Austrian GP.

Over the course of the weekend, fans have complained on social media about the abuse, which included homophobic and racist slurs.

Hamilton condemned the reports of harassment from a number of fans

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Hamilton condemned the reports of harassment from a number of fansCredit: Getty
Fans let off a flare following Saturday's Sprint Race

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Fans let off a flare following Saturday’s Sprint RaceCredit: Getty

The fans’ reports have been elevated to F1 chiefs, who are taking the matter up with the Red Bull Ring.

And Hamilton has also taken to social media to slam the abuse.

It comes after former F1 champion Nelson Piquet used racist and homophobic words in a recently aired interview and has subsequently been banned.

A statement from F1 said: “We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the event.

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“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.”

Hamilton, who only yesterday criticised fans for cheering his crash during qualifying was also quick to criticise the behaviour.

He wrote on Instagram: “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 done to ensure that races are safe spaces for all.

“Please, if you see this happening, report it to circuit security and to F1, we cannot sit back and allow this to continue.”

Red Bull chief Christian Horner also voiced his displeasure at the reports.

He said: “We are shocked to hear that there have been some incidents of abusive behaviour in the grandstands and the fan parks.

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“This is completely unacceptable and we hope that security and the authorities deal with this swiftly as there is no place for it in racing or society as a whole.

“We value inclusion and want a safe space for fans to enjoy our sport.”

Sunday’s race saw Charles Leclerc claim victory ahead of polesitter Max Verstappen, with Hamilton making up five places to earn a podium following retirements from Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz, whose car burst into flames.

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