Multiple reports of sexist abuse at the Dutch Grand Prix emerge

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Mercedes-Benz AG

According to Dutch media, at least 15 women have reported instances of sexist abuse at the Dutch Grand Prix to a fan club called ‘Formula 1 Women’.

According to reports from Dutch online publication and broadcaster NOS, at least 15 to 25 women contacted the Dutch ‘Formule 1 Vrouwen’ fan club to report instances of sexist abuse at Zandvoort during the Dutch Grand Prix.

This comes after multiple reports of sexist and racist abuse reportedly perpetrated mostly by Max Verstappen and Red Bull fans at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The fans at Zandvoort already left a bitter taste in the mouths of the viewing audience when two orange flares were thrown at the track during qualifying. While the first made it onto the track, leading to the session being red flagged, the second one was stopped by a barrier.

However, the second flare was thrown at the pitlane exit, just as Lewis Hamilton was on his way out, leading some to speculate that it was thrown at the British driver.

Formule 1 Vrouwen club founder Svenja Tillemans told Dutch media that she wants to speak to the race organizers about the abusive behaviour that has been reported at the track.

The women who came out reported being inappropriately touched, verbally harassed, and had beer poured on them.

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The organizers knew that there was potential for this kind of behavior due to what happened in Austria, so they have set up a special phone line for spectators to report harassment, and brought in additional security personnel.

However, according to the article it was not entirely successful.

“Five reports came in here, but there was almost no coverage on the track,” Tillemans was quoted as saying.

“I know that a number of women have gone to security guards, but they referred them to the police, who were outside. Then you get the ‘never mind’ effect and that’s a shame.”

The local police later said they received no formal reports, however Tillemans says it is to be expected if spectators were expected to leave the track to file a report.

NOS reports that Tillemans has had at least 25 women report abusive behaviour. The broadcaster has spoken to a few women who described what they experienced at the track.

“I had been looking forward to it for two years,” one woman said.

“But after last weekend’s experience, I don’t think I want to go to Formula 1 again. I have inflammations in my knees, so there are bandages on [them].

“I heard men say: ‘She had a nice time on her knees this afternoon’, or ‘she was busy last night’ and ‘Oh, you can do without those bandages’”.

The woman in question says these incidents happened while her father was not around.

“They really picked out the moments when I was alone. I have never felt so dirty, humiliated and inferior at an event. And unsafe.

“That is why we went home as soon as possible after the race,” she concluded.

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