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FIA President warns social media abuse could damage sport 'beyond repair'

Several months on from F1 launching the Drive it Out initiative – aimed at tackling any form of abuse in the sport – FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has reiterated that he is determined to fight "toxic" social media abuse, having warned of the consequences of ignoring it.

Mohammed ben Sulayem - Verstappen - Horner
To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has warned that ignoring social media abuse within F1 could cause damage "beyond repair".

There have been incidences during the 2022 season of abuse aimed at different drivers, individuals and teams across the paddock, as well as stewards.

One of these cases involved abuse being directed at FIA steward Silvia Bellot in the aftermath of Fernando Alonso receiving a 30-second time penalty after the United States Grand Prix, a punishment that was later withdrawn following an appeal from Alpine.

Alonso spoke out to condemn the abuse aimed at Bellot, calling it "hateful behaviour".

Ben Sulayem has reiterated that he is determined to fight any incidences like this.

Ben Sulayem concerned by 'toxic' social media abuse

Speaking at the FIA and FIM Women in Motorsports Conference, the President voiced his concerns of "toxic" abuse on social media.

"I'm going to fight it, and I'm going to fight it with all the power that I have," he told media, including RacingNews365.com, at the event.

"We are getting the support. One of our stewards from Spain was abused on social media – that cannot be accepted.

"If we allow this to happen, it's only a matter of time [until] the damage to our sport will be beyond repair."

Ben Sulayem also referenced the FIA's use of new AI technology in their bid to tackle social media abuse across all categories, with a trial alongside the likes of Mercedes, Red Bull and Alpine showing positive results.

Harassment will not be tolerated, warns Ben Sulayem

Ben Sulayem has additionally made it clear that he will not stand for any kind of harassment across any category.

"There is no messing with this – [if] you're proven [to have committed harassment], you're out," he explained.

"You don't give a chance for someone like this because, if he did it the first time, he will do it again. It's not a mistake."

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