F1 driver Latifi responds to death threats following Verstappen-Hamilton controversy in Abu Dhabi

  • Williams F1 driver Nicholas Latifi has received a torrent of abuse, and even death threats, on his social media platforms in recent days following the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix.
  • Latifi condemned the “hatred, abuse and threats of violence” he received through social media platforms.
  • Latifi got out of the race at the Yas Marina circuit and the accident required the deployment of the safety car. This Safety Car allowed Max Verstappen to win the race and the championship.

    Formula 1 Williams driver Nicholas Latifi condemned the “hatred, abuse and threats of violence” he received via social media platforms in the wake of the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix .

    Latifi got out of the race at the Yas Marina circuit and the accident required the deployment of the safety car. It was this period of Safety Car, and its use by race director Michael Masi, that led to the controversial final that saw Max Verstappen take the victory and the title at the expense of longtime leader Lewis Hamilton.

    Latifi, who has raced for Williams since 2020, has been the recipient of a torrent of abuse on its social media platforms within hours of the race, and he hasn’t released any updates since.

    On Tuesday, he tackled the situation head on, denouncing the abuse inflicted on him and his family.

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    “I tried to find the best way to handle this,” he wrote. “Do I ignore it and continue?” Or should I tackle it and tackle the bigger problem that is unfortunately a reality when you use social media?

    “Using social media as a channel to attack someone with messages of hate, abuse and threats of violence is shocking – and it’s something I speak out against. “

    Latifi revealed he knew “how things were going to play out on social media” and described the abuse as “not much of a surprise to me as it is the harsh reality of the world we live in”.

    He acknowledged that the negativity and “scrutiny” of athletes can be subject to scrutiny, but commented on what happened after Abu Dhabi.

    “As we have seen time and time again, in all different sports, it only takes one incident at the wrong time for things to be completely out of proportion and bring out the worst in the so called ‘fans’ of the sport. What shocked me was the extreme tone of hatred, abuse and even death threats I received.

    Latifi pointed out that “there was only one group of people I needed to apologize for the DNF: my team” and that he “did it right after”.

    Latifi was racing in 16th place out of 16 cars still racing at Yas Marina when he crashed while chasing Haas rival Mick Schumacher.

    “Some people said I was running for a position that didn’t matter with only a handful of laps remaining,” he explained. “But whether I’m racing for wins, podiums, points or even last place, I’m always going to give it my all until the checkered flag. I’m the same as every other driver on the grid in that regard. people who don’t understand or agree with that, that’s fine with me. You can have your opinion. But use those opinions to fuel hatred, abuse and threats of violence, not only towards me, but also towards my relatives, tell me that these people are not real fans of the sport.

    “People will have their opinion, and that’s good. Having thick skin is an integral part of being an athlete, especially when you are constantly in the position of being scrutinized. But many of the comments I received last week crossed the line into something much more extreme. It worries me how someone else might react if this same level of abuse is ever directed at them. No one should let the activities of a vocal minority dictate who they are.

    Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi are fighting for a place on the track in Abu Dhabi. The two could crash on lap 53 of 58, sending Latifi into the wall.

    DeFodi PicturesGetty Images

    Latifi conceded that it is “unlikely to convince those who have acted this way towards me to change their ways – and they may even try to use this post against me – but it is fair to speak out against this kind of behavior and not to remain silent “.

    The Canadian then thanked “all the fans and the people who supported me during the whole situation” and called for a change of attitude among the minority.

    “Sport is competitive by nature, but it has to bring people together, not separate them,” he wrote. “If sharing my thoughts and emphasizing the need to act only helps one person, then it was worth it.

    “As we look forward to the New Year, I really hope that my post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix experiences will help reinforce this message, and my resolution for the New Year is to look for ways to support this process. Just be nice everyone!

    Latifi’s position has been supported by other prominent Formula 1 figures, including his team Williams, who “wholeheartedly” agree with his words.

    “Huge respect to you for speaking,” said outgoing teammate George Russell. “There is no place for this kind of hate in our world.”

    “Stay strong,” said the Mercedes Formula 1 team. “We are by your side in the fight against hate and online abuse.

    f1 abu dhabi grand prix
    Nicholas Latifi and his girlfriend Sandra Dziwiszek walk in the paddock during the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend.

    ATPImagesGetty Images

    “We are by your side, Nicholas,” posted Red Bull Racing. “There is simply no room for this hatred and we categorically condemn it.

    “There is never a place for the abuse directed at Nicholas after the Abu Dhabi GP,” McLaren said. “He and everyone else suffering from this scourge have our support. “

    “There is no room for hatred, abuse or threats in this sport,” Alfa Romeo said. “We are by your side. “

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