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F1 launches 'Drive It Out' campaign to combat fan and online abuse

Formula 1 has launched a new campaign called ‘Drive It Out’ to combat fan abuse both online and in person including support from the FIA and all 10 teams.

Fans watch the action from a packed grandstand

Fans watch the action from a packed grandstand

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The move by F1 comes in the wake of reports of fans facing racist and homophobic abuse as well as sexual harassment over the Austrian Grand Prix earlier this month, prompting calls for action.

The new campaign was launched via a video featuring all the drivers, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem condemning abuse both at events and online, and calling on people to immediately block and report offenders.

In the joint video featuring Domenicali, Ben Sulayem and all 20 F1 drivers, they said:

“Formula 1 is all about competition and rivalry, but also respect. Respect as competitors, respect for our fans, respect for the whole F1 family. Abuse of any kind is unacceptable. If you cannot be respectful then don’t be part of our sport.

“We cannot let those who think they can abuse others get away with it. We have a duty to call this out and say ‘no more’. We are acting as a community to block those who abuse others online. We won’t allow abuse at our races. But we also need social media platforms to tackle abuse online head-on.

“Those who hide behind social media with abusive and disrespectful views are not our fans. We are united and ask you to join us in driving this out of all sport and society. Drive it out together.”

 

The ‘Drive It Out’ campaign comes in tandem with F1 taking action to ensure abuse at events is stamped out after condemning the “unacceptable” behaviour at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

F1 said at the time it intended to talk to the promoter of the race to find out what happened and ensure there was improved security and support at future events.

But these conversations are set to be extended to every event on the calendar, ensuring that all fans can attend races safely without facing abuse by promising action against perpetrators.

OPINION: F1 must act hard on abuse - no fan should ever attend a GP and not want to go back

A number of drivers were vocal after the Austrian Grand Prix about the reports of abuse, including Sebastian Vettel, who called for lifetime bans from attending F1 events to be handed to those found responsible.

Lewis Hamilton called the behaviour “disgusting”, while Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff told those responsible to “f*** off” and “stay at home.”

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