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Lewis Hamilton and Naomi Schiff targeted as extent of online racism in F1 revealed

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Lewis Hamilton and Sky Sports presenter Naomi Schiff are among those who have been subjected to vile racist messages from online trolls, as revealed by a new study looking into the problem of racial discrimination in Formula 1.

Abusive behaviour within F1 was notably on the rise last year, both online and in person at some Grand Prix events. It became such an issue that the ‘Drive It Out’ campaign was launched in order to highlight and tackle the problem.

All 20 drivers plus F1 chief Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem appeared in a video in which they condemned those who dish out abuse. In addition, Hamilton has also done his own work to highlight racism in F1 and in wider society.

The Female Drive teamed up with online safety start-up Areto Labs to analyse the extent of the problem on social media. Monitoring activity during October and November 2022, they found more than 5,500 comments containing racist content.

Of those, five per cent were also deemed to be ‘high risk’ – meaning they were also threatening and gave intention of inflicting violence against someone. More than 1,000 uses of the N-word were noted, along with a similar number of occasions upon which a person of colour was described as a “monkey” or an “ape”.

The hashtag BLM – Black Lives Matter – appears in around 3,500 comments recorded by the study. However, upon analysis, it was found that the phrase was “used in a negative way in almost every instance”.

Warning: Parts of the social media post below contain some examples of hateful comments which some people may find distressing. To avoid seeing hateful content in the post, do not swipe right beyond the content warning.

Revealing their findings, The Female Drive also included some censored examples of some of the abuse that they unearthed. In the majority of examples show, Mercedes driver Hamilton was the target of the racist comment.

In several, the seven time world champion was referred to as a “monkey” or a “slave”. The N-word is used on a number of occasions. Sky Sports F1 presenter Schiff also received racist abuse, including from one commenter who wrote “no-one cares about black people” and accused her of “spreading the virus of Black History Month”.

The findings come after another similar study conducted by The Female Drive and Areto, regarding abuse directed at women working in F1. Broadcasters Schiff, Laura Winter, Natalie Pinkham, Jennie Gow and Rosanna Tennant were among those who received such hateful comments.

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