Belgian Grand Prix impose restrictions to combat disruptive fan behaviour

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Fans under umbrellas at the Belgian Grand Prix. August 2021. Credit: PA Images
Fans under umbrellas at the Belgian Grand Prix. August 2021. Credit: PA Images

After recent alarming incidents among spectators, the Belgian Grand Prix has put some restrictions in place for the upcoming race weekend.

Formula 1 is now deep into the summer break following an opening 13 rounds which provided plenty of action, but sadly also some unsavoury scenes in the stands.

Back at the British Grand Prix Max Verstappen was the recipient of boos from the fans, and at the following round in Austria the situation intensified slightly, Lewis Hamilton calling it “mind-blowing” when fans cheered his qualifying crash before it was clear that he was unhurt, but far worse was to come.

On the Sunday morning in Austria, Formula 1 was forced to release a statement condemning behaviour from some spectators.

 

 

“We have been made aware of reports that some fans have been subject to completely unacceptable comments by others at the Austrian Grand Prix,” read the statement.

“We take these matters very seriously, have raised them with the promoter and event security and will be speaking to those who have reported these incidents.

“This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Formula 1 later launched the ‘Drive it Out’ campaign at the Hungarian Grand Prix, aimed at tackling the growing problem of abuse within the F1 community.

Its launch coincided with footage emerging online in which attendees could be seen setting fire to Hamilton merchandise. Verstappen described it as “just disgusting”.

When Formula 1 does return from its summer hiatus, the Belgian Grand Prix will be the first stop, and event organisers have already moved to put measures in place as they look to avoid any unacceptable behaviour spilling over into Spa.

“You are the key to a successful Grand Prix!” the statement on social media began. “Just follow the rules on site and have fun doing it.”

It went on to the list the following requirements:

  • Have respect for everyone.

  • Don’t bring glass, alcohol, smoke, drones, weapons.

  • Bikes are not allowed inside the circuit, park your bike at the Blanchimont entrance.

Last year’s Belgian Grand Prix was won by Verstappen, though the race was a washout.

After two laps behind the Safety Car, a third lap brought out the red flag and signalled the end of the race, with half-points awarded.

Williams’ George Russell and Mercedes’ Hamilton joined Verstappen on the podium.

 

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