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Max Verstappen has called for alcohol consumption at Formula One races to be regulated following allegations of abuse which cast a shadow over Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.
A number of reports, including of sexual harassment, and homophobic and racist abuse, emerged on social media from people attending the race at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg.
Some 60,000 spectators travelled from Holland to support world champion Verstappen. One of the reported incidents included a female attendee saying five Dutch supporters lifted her dress up and said: “no [Lewis] Hamilton fan deserves respect”.
A large contingent of Verstappen’s Orange Army are expected at the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest later this month, while organisers of the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort on September 4 are anticipating a race crowd in excess of 100,000.
“One thing that can be improved is the security around places to keep people more in check,” said world champion Verstappen, who leads Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the standings by 38 points.
“And of course it is not an excuse, but they watch the race, go back, party, have fun, and drink alcohol.
“These things can be regulated. There is a certain amount of alcohol a person should have until it is time to go to bed and wake up sober the next morning because if you start to go crazy, you can do stupid things.”
Formula One bosses have launched an investigation into the reports of abuse, describing them as “completely unacceptable”.
There is no room for abuse either verbal or physical against any group of people in sport. Therefore we stand together with @F1 in stating that this behaviour is completely unacceptable. https://t.co/ooZFID72FJ
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) July 10, 2022
And seven-time world champion Hamilton, who said it was “mind-blowing” that fans cheered his crash in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, insists F1 must do more to combat the problem.
The British driver, 37, said: “It goes back to some of the messaging that we talked about in terms of what we need to do here within the sport, which is commit more to diversity and inclusion within our industry.
“That reflects the direction we’re going and it reflects what our fan-base will look like.
“It’s time for action. [F1’s] ‘We Race as One’ campaign was all good and well, but it was just words. It didn’t actually do anything.
“There was no funding towards anything. There was no programme to actually create change and spark that conversation.
“We really have to step up and actually start actioning some of the things we’re saying. Just saying it, is not enough.”