Jul.12 (GMM) Police are in the dark over an apparent series of incidents that occurred trackside at the Austrian GP on Sunday.
Drivers, teams, the FIA and Formula 1 slammed the “completely unacceptable” conduct of mainly Dutch supporters of world champion Max Verstappen.
One female ‘victim’, Nienke, told the German newspaper Bild: “Several men groped my butt in the fan zone.”
And Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel met with two more victims of the incidents after the race in Spielberg, as the quadruple world champion said the perpetrators should be “banned from racing events for life”.
“I think there should be zero tolerance,” the German added.
Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers said he will not be tolerating any similar behaviour when Zandvoort welcomes Formula 1 in September.
“It’s terrible, it’s antisocial, it’s immoral,” the former F1 driver told NOS.
However, local Austrian police spokesperson Christoph Grill said he had nothing in particular to report.
“With over 300,000 visitors, it was surprisingly quiet,” he said. “There were no major incidents.”
Kronen Zeitung newspaper said security at the Red Bull Ring is handled by private firms, not the police, and that measures were ramped up on Sunday.
“We cannot be held responsible for the behaviour of all visitors,” said Erich Wolf, boss of the Red Bull Ring.
“But it’s a shame that apparently not all fans enjoyed a good upbringing,” he added.
Wolf also told Kurier newspaper: “The incidents will be processed in close cooperation with the FIA over the next few days and weeks.
“But we are not going to talk about assumptions. First we will work on the issue.”
He said security staff were told to be on high alert for race-day on Sunday, but police spokesman Grill told APA news agency that not a single official report had been filed.
Grill also clarified that the police did have a presence and office at the Austrian GP venue and were available to be approached by the public.
“There have been no complaints of sexual assault,” he insisted.
“The campsites were still busy after the bars closed at 2am,” police spokesman Grill added, “but everything went according to plan.”
Dutch GP boss Lammers said he is keenly interested in the outcome of any investigation by Formula 1 authorities.
“There were 60,000 Dutch fans, so you wonder how many were misbehaving,” he said. “Is it 5,000? 10,000? More?
“During our Dutch GP, I expect that the good fans will keep the bad ones in check. But I also want to appeal to people about their personal responsibility and common sense.
“You are talking about the Verstappen fan here, so Max’s name is being associated with this misconduct. So if you behave in a way that Max is ashamed of, then you are just too stupid to understand,” Lammers added.