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F1 driver reveals death threats after his crash caused title carnage

Williams driver Nicholas Latifi has revealed in a lengthy social media post that he has been subjected to a torrent of online hate and death threats following his role in the dramatic conclusion to the recent Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The 26-year-old Canadian driver proved to be an unwitting but crucial factor in deciding the destination of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship after his late crash set in motion a series of events which would ultimately result in reigning champion Lewis Hamilton being pipped at the post by his Dutch rival Max Verstappen. 

Latifi’s accident with just five laps remaining prompted the introduction of a safety car which would ultimately eat into then-race leader Hamilton’s advantage, and then a ‘selective’ application of F1 guidelines from race director Michael Masi allowed Verstappen – who was on fresher tires – to take a dramatic late lead in both the race and the championship standings. 

And while Masi has been the subject of many F1 fans’ ire, Latifi also revealed on social media on Tuesday that he hasn’t escaped the attention of the sport’s army of trolls.

As soon as the checkered flag dropped, I knew how things were likely to play out on social media,” he wrote in a statement published on Twitter. 

The fact that I felt it would be best if I deleted Instagram and Twitter on my phone for a few days says all we need to know about how cruel the online world can be.

The ensuing hate, abuse, and threats on social media were not really a surprise to me as it’s just the stark reality of the world we live in right now. I’m no stranger to being talked about negatively online, I think every sports person who competes on the world stage knows they’re under extreme scrutiny and this comes with the territory sometimes.

But as we’ve seen time and time again, across all different sports, it only takes one incident at the wrong time to have things completely blown out of proportion and bring out the worst in people who are so-called ‘fans’ of the sport. What shocked me was the extreme tone of the hate, abuse, and even the death threats I received.”


Latifi’s concerns about social media abuse are the latest in what is becoming an ever-increasing issue in global sport, and one which has seen leaders of prominent social media entities questioned about the ease with which trolls can use various platforms for nefarious means.

Perhaps the best-known recent example of such abuse is that which was levied against the trio of young, black English footballers Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka after they missed crucial penalties in last summer’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.

Thankfully, I’m comfortable enough in my own skin, and I’ve been in this world long enough that I can do a pretty good job of just letting any negativity wash over me,” Latifi added. 

But I know I’m not alone in thinking that a negative comment always seems to stick out more – and can sometimes be enough to drown out 100 positive ones.


People will have their opinions, and that’s fine. Having a thick skin is a huge part of being an athlete, especially when you are constantly in a position to be scrutinised. 

But many of the comments I received last week crossed the line into something far more extreme. It concerns me how somebody else might react if this same level of abuse was ever directed at them. No one should let the activities of a vocal minority dictate who they are.

Events in the last week have made me see how important it is to work together to stop this kind of thing happening and to support those on the receiving end. 

I realize I’m unlikely to convince those who acted in this way towards me to change their ways – and they may even try to use this message against me – but it’s right to call out this kind of behaviour and not stay silent,” he concluded. 

READ MORE: Red Bull boss makes promise to F1 driver who caused title carnage

The post earned support from the likes of fellow F1 driver George Russell, who shared Latifi’s tweet and wrote: “Huge respect to you for speaking up, @NicholasLatifi. There’s no place for this kind of hatred in our world.”

https://ift.tt/2hpq7SJ 22, 2021 at 12:44AM
from RT – Daily news

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