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Between harassment and discrimination, the voices of fans from Spielberg

During the Austrian weekend, many people that were at the circuit reported, using Twitter or Instagram, harassment from some fans to others. Formula 1, after hearing the news, released a statement condemning the events. But what happened? Austrian GP harassment

We talked with some fans that were at the circuit of Spielberg, to collect testimonies. 

From the Red Bull grandstand

The first answer arrives from a girl who was sitting in the RedBull grandstand:

I was in the Red Bull grandstand and the fans were pretty calm, but on Saturday someone threw some Red Bull’s empty cans towards me and my boyfriend, who was wearing Ferrari merch. We were sitting alone in that row, apart from a family far from us, so I’m pretty sure that the throws were for us. I also saw unpleasant acts towards a girl who was selling ice cream: many fans called her, with whistles and shouts, up to the stand and watch her backside“.

Austrian GP harrasment
@F1 on Twitter

The girl also spoke of a big problem of the weekend, the amount of alcohol circulating in the circuit:

I don’t think the biggest problem was the fanbase, but the alcohol. On Friday and on Saturday, I saw many adult males completely drunk, since nine in the morning, urinating every area of the circuit, even in the middle of the track!Austrian GP harassment

Harassment at the circuit

Reporting shouting, booing and harassment there is another girl named Lena, victim of harassment during the weekend:

“The first episode happened on Saturday evening, when we were waving at the drivers leaving the circuit. There was a fan, who was really drunk, who was screaming and asking what I was doing. He began to insult the security, who called the police, because it was becoming very disturbing”.

“After leaving the track, I took the shuttle to Knittelfeld and I met another guy who was heavily drunk, who called me ‘Yuki Tsunoda’ because I’m small and I was wearing the AlphaTauri merch, which made me uncomfortable. He sat right in front of me and my friends and he grabbed me from near my ear because he wanted me to listen to him. Obviously I got scared and I said him to stop, but he asked me why I was afraid. He began to ask me inappropriate things, even about my boyfriend. At the end I was basically crying”.

Not all bad experiences

Another story comes from a girl who lived a calm weekend and told us how she found support in some fans:

Personally, I haven’t seen or experienced any type of discrimination or harassment. When the news started spreading, there have been men that asked me if I was ok, or if someone had bothered me. I saw a lot of kindness and respect, but there were a lot of bad episodes around the circuit. Luckily not everyone misbehaved“.

The voice of a spectator

The next story comes from Andrea, who saw bad episodes happening on the standings:

I was in third row on the grandstands and I couldn’t see what was happening above me, plus I didn’t walk much around the circuit. First of all I have to say that, since Friday, there were drunk fans everywhere on the standings. This element is an aggravating factor, because if you can’t act in a civilised way with other people, you have to stay at home!

Speaking about what I have seen, the harassment started on Friday. On Friday morning, in a group of ‘Orange’ boys – obviously I can’t generalise and I am not accusing any fanbase, but to identify the subject – there was a tipsy guy dancing and shouting. In the row below were sitting some Asian boys and this ‘Orange’ guy was dancing, rubbing himself against one of the boys below him. The Asian boy, uncomfortable, asked him to stop and the other apologised, but the intention was clear“.

On Sunday, before the race, a middle-aged couple walked past the stands and what’s more, the woman was black. As they walked, a whistle went up, probably aimed at her, as no one had whistled before. I also witnessed something that I find very disrespectful: at the end of the races on Saturday and Sunday, there were groups of men urinating against the wall behind the grandstands, in front of people walking by, including children, girls and women. Definitely an uncivilised scene“. Austrian GP harassment

Andrea finishes his testimony with this important message:
I hope the people who behaved in this way are banned from the world of Motorsport, because this is not the way to follow races. The circuit must be a place where thousands of fans from every team and driver have fun together and end the day congratulating each other. In the end, I hope that the victims of this weekend’s harassment won’t be afraid to come back to the circuit because they don’t feel safe“.

Austrian GP harrasment
(Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Mult1formula would like to thank the people who shared their experience and hopes that everyone who experienced harassment and discrimination is well, safe and was able to enjoy the weekend in Austria.

Olivia Carbone

Appassionata di sport, ha iniziato a scrivere per Mult1formula a novembre del 2020. Le piace il cinema e la geopolitica, ma è anche amante della letteratura.

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