F1: Hamilton and Verstappen fans continue abusive behavior war on social media

Research studies by The Female Driver and Pareto labs have revealed harrowing details of the level of abuse Max Verstappen continues to receive as he continues to school Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton fans are to blame, and Max Verstappen fans are now returning the favor.

The toxic fandom in F1 has been growing since 2021, and it has reached an alarming level recently. Verstappen, alongside Lewis Hamilton, has been one of the biggest targets of online abuse in the last two years.

In the report, it was revealed that out of 100,000 comments made about Verstappen between October and November, 20% were abusive. Out of these 100,000 comments, 9% were termed “high risk” for their abusive nature. Overall, 16,500 comments were considered toxic, while 4,500 were considered severely toxic.

A lot of these comments were made in the aftermath of the races in Singapore and Brazil. The proximity of events like Red Bull’s cost cap breach report or Verstappen disobeying team orders to let Sergio Perez through added fuel to the fire.

F1’s reputation at stake on multiple fronts

In addition to the online abuse problem that continues unabated, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali says he is “more than nervous” about how the sport’s reputation may be affected in future, if another team breaches the sport’s budget cap.

Red Bull Team principal Christian Horner estimated that the penalty they received for the 2021 cost cap breach could cost them up to half a second per lap this year as per his early estimates after the punishment was handed down.

“That’s a good question because if you hear teams, everyone has a different opinion,” Domenicali told Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle in a pre-season interview.

“Of course the debate is really relevant for the Federation to tackle that because I want to respect the role that we have. We are the commercial rights holder, they are the regulator, and I think that when we’re talking about penalties that, by the way, were discussed within the teams when the financial regulations were being done, has been always a debate.

“I mean, it is a financial penalty with regard to a sporting penalty more than one or the other. So I think that is a point of which I see there will be a lot of attention this year.

“I see that first of all, we don’t have to forget one thing that the step change of financial regulation for one has been a step change in the governance of the sport. And I was thinking that we could have even more problems to manage [this] because the dimension of the complexity, it is really huge.

With regard to another team possibly breaching the cost cap, Domenicali responded:

“Well, I think that is a point of attention mainly because what we have discussed together is that for the credibility to support this kind of action to check if everyone is respecting that rule, [it] has to be done earlier than later,” he said.

“So we are discussing and this is on the FIA’s side to make sure that the control and the certification will be done much earlier because the effect, if some teams will be out of it, has to be done properly in as short a time as possible to be more credible.

“We see other sports that are tackling the financial regulation with, my opinion, too long a time for a reaction – and this is not good.”