On the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, Formula One and the FIA have launched a new initiative named ‘Drive It Out’ to combat fan abuse after fans’ misbehaving at recent grands prix.
Fan abuse has become more of a problem in recent weeks after Max Verstappen was drowned out by a chorus of boos at Silverstone as the British crowd showed its dislike following last year’s intense championship battle between the Dutchman and Lewis Hamilton. Just a week after the Silverstone race, Hamilton was greeted by cheers by fans when he crashed out of qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.
At the same time, there have been reports about sexist, racist and homophobic behaviour by spectators at the Austrian Grand Prix. Drunken male fans were reported to harass female fans and perform homophobic and racial abuse.
With fans sharing their negative experiences already at the start of the weekend in Austria, Formula One issued a statement at the Red Bull Ring, confirming that such behaviour would not be tolerated.
"We take these matters very seriously, have raised them with the promoter and event security, and will be speaking to those who reported the incidents," the Liberty Media-owned sport added at the Austrian Grand Prix.
Following these incidents, on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Formula 1 community, including all 20 drivers, Formula 1 CEO and President Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has come together to deliver a strong message to ‘Drive Out’ any form of abuse, online and at events, and call for greater respect.
“We are all sending a clear message that this isn’t acceptable and must end – and those that continue to spread abuse and offensive comments are not welcome in our sport,” read Formula One’s statement.