Formula One launches 'Drive It Out' campaign against abusive behaviour
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Formula One on Saturday launched the 'Drive It Out' campaign against abusive behaviour online on social media and at Grands Prix.
The campaign has been fronted by drivers calling for all racist, sexist and homophobic abuse to be eliminated from not only from Formula One, but all sport worldwide.
The initiative follows outbursts of abusive behaviour at the Austrian Grand Prix earlier this month.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton raised the issue concerning the abuse at Spielberg's Red Bull Ring.
"Disgusted and disappointed to hear that some fans are facing racist, homophobic and generally abusive behaviour at the circuit this weekend," he wrote at the time on his Instagram page.
On Saturday, the campaign was launched with a video including linked messages from all of the current drivers, F1's president and chief executive officer Stefano Domenicali and the ruling International Motoring Federation (FIA) president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
George Russell of Mercedes, who is also a director of the Grand Prix Drivers Association (GPDA), made clear the position taken by the drivers.
"Abuse of any kind has no place in F1," he said. "If you see inappropriate behaviour, report it. If you're being targeted, reach out. We all love this sport, so let's look after each other."
In their video message, the drivers said: "Formula One is all about competition and rivalry, but also respect. Respect as competitors, respect for our fans, respect for the whole F1 family.
"Abuse of any kind is unacceptable. If you cannot be respectful, then don't be part of our sport. We cannot let those who think they can abuse others get away with it.
"We have a duty to call this out and say 'no more'.
"We are acting as a community to block those who abuse others online. We won't allow abuse at our races, but we also need social media platforms to tackle abuse online head-on.
"Those who hide behind social media with abusive and disrespectful views are not our fans. We are united and ask you to join us in driving this out of all sport and society. Drive it out together."