Welcome to GPFans


  • NL
  • GB
  • FR
  • ES-MX
  • GB
FIA president speaks out after "deplorable" FIA volunteer death threats

FIA president speaks out after "deplorable" FIA volunteer death threats

FIA president speaks out after "deplorable" FIA volunteer death threats

FIA president speaks out after "deplorable" FIA volunteer death threats

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has revealed a campaign from F1's governing body to eradicate social media abuse.

A number of FIA staff members have been targeted in recent years with fans unhappy with the governance of the sport.

Former race director Michael Masi was targeted by death threats from those irate over the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the year to clinch his maiden championship.

Race steward Silvia Bellot was singled out for abuse following Fernando Alonso's reinstatement into seventh at the United States Grand Prix. She was also targeted with death threats despite the stewarding panel consisting of multiple members.

Ben Sulayem said: "Recently one of the FIA female stewards, Silvia Bellot, was the subject of death threats. It is utterly deplorable that a volunteer such as Silvia or any of our marshals and officials, who volunteer their time to allow us to go racing, is the subject of such hatred.

"Indeed a number of FIA staff have also been targeted with harassment and hate posts over the past few years.

"It is totally unacceptable that our volunteers, officials and employees are subjected to this extreme abuse. It has no place in our sport. It has a devastating effect on our mental health and that of our loved ones.

Warning of the effects persistent abuse could entail, Ben Sulayem added: "I will always stand up for my staff and volunteers. And let me be clear – without these people there would be no racing. We have to ask ourselves, who would want to pursue becoming a top official in this environment? The reality is obvious - if this continues it will destroy our sport.

"As the referee, and as the President you of course expect people to disagree with the decisions you make. But you should expect that those opinions and comments are respectful. This is increasingly rare.

"Only through a collaborative approach will we achieve a measure of success in combatting this scourge on our sport."

Abuse must stop

The FIA has taken a combative stance as incidents of abuse increase, with a raft of measures being taken.

Dialogue has been started with social media platforms to "play their part" while the FIA is also beginning to work with governments and other sports governing bodies to "bring them together to make string commitments for joint action".

Research has been commissioned through the FIA university into digital hate and toxic commentary specific to sport to 'provide a platform for knowledge sharing, education and prevention'.

The FIA has also teamed up with Arwen.ai to use AI software to 'detect and eradicate' abusive content through its own channels.

"Passions run high in sport, but online harassment, abuse and hate speech must not be tolerated," insisted Ben Sulayem.

"Everyone in our sport, from the media, teams, drivers and fans has a role to play. We cannot ignore this. I urge the entire motorsport ecosystem to take a stand.

"We must call it out. It has to stop."

Ontdek het op Google Play