Vettel calls for life bans for abusive F1 fans at Austrian GP

Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1 should introduce life bans for abusive fans following harassment reported at the Red Bull Ring during the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.

Fans at the Red Bull Ring

Throughout the Austrian F1 race weekend, a number of fans have been subjected to harassment by other supporters at the track including the use of homophobic and racist slurs, catcalling and other abusive comments.

F1 responded to the reports and announced it will speak to the Red Bull Ring race promoters to seek action.

Vettel has called for strong bans for fans found guilty of being abusive at F1 circuits and wants a “zero tolerance” approach.

“Horrible isn’t it? I think it is good that this stuff comes out, that’s the start, but it is horrible,” Vettel said after the Austrian GP in which he finished 17th.

“Whoever these people are, they should be ashamed of themselves and they should be banned from racing events for their lives.

“I think there should be zero tolerance. If people have a good time and drink too much that’s OK, but it doesn’t justify or excuse wrong behaviour.

“We race as one, so, the fans are a part of that.”

“We race as one, so, the fans are a part of that.” Sebastian Vettel

“We race as one, so, the fans are a part of that.” Sebastian Vettel

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Before Sunday’s Austrian GP, F1 released a statement about the matter: “We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the event.

“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.”

In a statement Red Bull team boss Christian Horner added: "We are shocked to hear that there have been some incidents of abusive behaviour in the grandstands and the fan parks.

"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.”

Daniel Ricciardo added that he was going to meet some of the fans affected, and agreed that F1 had to "come down hard" on those causing problems.

"Yeah, absolutely. To be honest I just heard about it after the race now and I heard that there's a few victims and fans who I believe are in the paddock, so we're gonna go and say g'day to a few of them and give them a bit of love.

"I hate negativity, I don't like talking about negative news, but if that's going on then it's a damn shame. I got asked yesterday about the booing when Lewis crashed and I get everyone's here to have a good time, drink a few beers and get a little rowdy but obviously there's a limit to a lot of things.

"Obviously harassment doesn't fall close to anywhere that's okay and it's a shame, it does put a little bit of a downer on what should be just a fun, good-feel weekend from start to finish.

"So we're gonna try do what we can to help out a few of the victims and give them a little bit of love. I haven't read the statement from F1 but of course I hope it's firm and you've got to come down hard."

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