Mercedes have publicly condemned Formula One fans who racially abused Lewis Hamilton on social media following his victory at the 2021 British Grand Prix.
Hamilton clinched his eighth British GP win in controversial circumstances yesterday (18 July) after recovering from a 10 second time penalty, following a first lap collision with Max Verstappen at Copse corner which landed the latter in hospital for precautionary checks.
Many drivers and fans were consequently split as to who was at fault for the collision after footage showed Verstappen on the outside line cutting across Hamilton’s front-left tyre, which caused them to make contact resulting in the Dutchman’s 51g crash.
Post-race, Hamilton was subjected to racial abuse post-race from various fans on social media with gorilla and monkey emojis often used.
Mercedes, F1 and FIA consequently released a statement criticising the racial abuse, commenting: ‘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.
‘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.’
F1 shortly afterwards added that they respect the fact that ‘opinion and rivalry are central to our sport’ yet iterated that racial or discriminatory abuse is unacceptable, vowing ‘to hold anyone promoting such views to account.’
F1 bosses also urged fans ‘to show respect and basic humanity; and to report any examples below those standards.’
This incident however marks the latest in a long string of racial abuse against British sport stars after England’s Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all subjected to racist comments after failing to score penalties in England’s Euro 2020 Final defeat to Italy.
England’s Tyrone Mings consequently accused UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel of inciting racial abuse with ‘gesture politics’ in reference to sport stars taking the knee, which is a now a pre-race tradition of F1 drivers although many choose to stand instead of kneeling as their symbol of anti-racism.
Teams Come Out in Support
Following Mercedes, F1 and FIA’s joint statement, several rival teams across motorsport came out in support of Hamilton, with McLaren CEO- Zak Brown iterating that fans responsible for the online racial abuse aren’t representative of the sport.
Totally unacceptable racist abuse of Lewis Hamilton. These people do not represent F1 fans or our sport. We must come together to get rid of this disgraceful abuse and racism. https://t.co/rUKc4uuelH
— Zak Brown (@ZBrownCEO) July 19, 2021
Several other teams across motorsport including Aston Martin and Veloce Racing as well as Honda who are currently power unit suppliers to Red Bull came out in support of Hamilton, tweeting:
— Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) July 19, 2021
There is no place for these individuals in our sport and they should be held accountable for their actions. https://t.co/rGbP2WYsz6
— Veloce Racing (@Veloce_Racing) July 19, 2021
— Honda Racing F1 (@HondaRacingF1) July 19, 2021
We are saddened and horrified to see the racist abuse suffered by Lewis Hamilton following the British GP.
There is no place for racism within our society, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with Lewis, Mercedes, and all our colleagues in F1 in our commitment to eradicating it. https://t.co/qNEogxdjak
— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) July 19, 2021
Red Bull also came out in support noting that whilst they and Mercedes are ‘fierce rivals on-track’. they are united off-track in tackling racist abuse towards not just those in their own team but also individuals of their competitors and fans.
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) July 19, 2021
Show Racism The Red Card also issued a statement on the latest act of racial abuse of British sporting stars, describing this as a crisis beyond football and now instead has become ‘society’s problem’ across the UK.
— Show Racism the Red Card (@SRTRC_England) July 19, 2021