Dutch fans accused of sexual harassment, racism, homophobia at Austrian Grand Prix
Multiple women who attended the Formula 1 race in Austria have accused mainly Dutch fans at the race of reprehensible behavior, including sexual harassment, racism, and homophobia. The Formula 1 organization confirmed receiving complaints.
Women shared their experiences on social media after a female fan invited to the Mercedes garage space experienced severe harassment. Drunk onlookers pulled up her dress, told her she deserved no respect because she was a Hamilton fan, and catcalled her the entire way, according to Parool.
“We found out that this happened, and that’s just not okay,’ Mercedes team principal Toto Wolf said. “This has to stop. If you are a Formula 1 fan, for any team or driver, you cannot be racist, sexist, or homophobic. Then you don’t fit in Formula 1, and we don’t want you.”
His statement sparked a floodgate of women sharing their experiences on Twitter. “The behavior has been… disappointing,” one said. “My expectations were low, but holy cow. Racist, homophobic slurs, cat calling, inappropriate talking, and touching. The list goes on.”
“Genuinely had to fight off a panic attack and not cry the whole walk back to the exit because I was scared,” another woman wrote. “We’re coming back for the race, but we are never coming back to this Grand Prix ever again, and that’s a promise.”
“I’m at the circuit too, and I’ve seen horrible things. The girl that sells ice cream (that is WORKING) gets harassed by older drunk men without pause. It’s horrendous.”
“I heard all kinds of swearing but also the n-word, which triggered me extremely. I think this is unacceptable, and I”m full of shame for the Austrian GP and their so-called fans.”
A Max Verstappen fan who attended the Austrian Grand Prix last year pointed out that this is not isolated to only this year’s race. “Every time a woman or girl walked by in front of the grandstand, there would be catcalls, whistling, etc.” She even saw fathers with their children chanting “there should be a dick in that” at women walking by. “And I’m sure most meant it as a joke, but when you’re chanting this at young girls, it’s likely not a joke to them. And it’s not like it were just a few people. No, it was like 50% of the grandstand.”
According to Parool, the race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg has become known as a Grand Prix overrun by Dutch Max Verstappen fans, primarily men. They sleep at one of the large campsites near the circuit and party in the days leading up to the GP.
In a response on Twitter, the Formula 1 organization confirmed receiving complaints. “We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the Austrian Grand Prix. We take these matters very seriously,” the organization said. “This kind of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Verstappen’s team, Red Bull, also responded. “We are shocked to hear that there have been incidents of completely unacceptable behavior in the grandstands and the fan parks,” the team said on Twitter. “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.
Who is in charge of security at the Red Bull Ring?— Melanie 🏁 (@MotoMel89) July 9, 2022
Hey @F1 @fia @Ben_Sulayem @fiawim @Silbellot @redbull @redbullracing, below are a bunch of tweets about people, particularly women, being harassed at the #AustrianGP this weekend. What can they do to protect themselves? https://t.co/GJiZDT5dgV