Ben Sulayem: Time for all of us to unite against online abuse – Grand Prix 247
FIA President Mohammed Bill Sulayem warned this week that online abuse, including death threats against volunteers and officials, would destroy Formula 1 if left unchecked.
The head of international motorsport’s governing body said a female steward recently received death threats while staff had been targeted with harassment plus hate posts for years.
“The level of sustained toxicity has reached crisis point. It is time for all of us to unite – and to act, ” Dan Sulayem wrote in an op-ed piece published on motorsport. com and the FIA website.
Spanish race steward Silvia Bellot was targeted after compatriot and double world champion Fernando Alonso was penalised at the United States Grand Prix in Austin and then reinstated a few days later on review.
Ben Sulayem said such misuse had a devastating effect on the particular mental health of officials and volunteers, without whom there would be no racing.
“It is utterly deplorable that a volunteer such as Silvia or any associated with our marshals and authorities, who volunteer their time to allow all of us to go racing, is the subject of such hatred. We have to ask ourselves, who might want to pursue becoming a top official inside this environment? The reality is obvious — if this continues it will destroy our sport. ”
Ben Sulayem said the FIA was talking in order to social media platforms and working with governments and other sports governing bodies “to make strong commitments for joint action. ”
Period for sports to combine to plus destroy digital maggots that will infest social media systems
The FIA had also commissioned research into online mistreatment in sport and partnered with technology platform Arwen to detect and remove abusive content through the particular use of artificial intelligence software.
F1 and the 10 teams have also already been working with interpersonal media platforms and Arwen to report and block online abuse.
New and younger audiences have been attracted by the Netflix docu-series ‘Drive to Survive’ but commentators have noted fans becoming more ‘tribal’ as the sport surges in popularity.
Last season’s final race triggered huge controversy along with Max Verstappen denying Lewis Hamilton a record eighth title after now-departed FIA race director Michael Masi changed the safety car procedure.
Masi revealed in July he experienced received on the internet death risks, while Verstappen and Hamilton spoke out in Mexico this month about social media becoming increasingly toxic .
In the summer, F1 launched the “Drive it Out” initiative after incidents of racist and homophobic behaviour simply by spectators as well as the sexual harassment of female fans at races.
Bill Sulayem stated the FIA would be launching a concerted campaign, leveraging the particular reach associated with a federation representing 146 countries across five continents. ( Reporting by Alan Baldwin )