Latifi shocked by "hate, abuse and threats" after Abu Dhabi GP crash

Nicholas Latifi says he was shocked by the "hate, abuse and threats of violence" he received after his crash in Formula 1's finale in Abu Dhabi.

Latifi shocked by "hate, abuse and threats" after Abu Dhabi GP crash

The Williams driver crashed into the wall at Turn 14 with six laps remaining of the race at the Yas Marina circuit, resulting in a safety car that would help decide the championship.

Race director Michael Masi opted to resume the race with one lap remaining, during which Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton to win both the race and the title.

In an open letter he posted to social media on Tuesday, Latifi called out the unpleasant messages he received in the wake of the race but says they were "not really a surprise to me".

He also said he deleted Instagram and Twitter from his phone in the wake of the race in anticipation of receiving online abuse.

Latifi wrote: "I've purposely been staying away from social media to kind of let things settle down from the events of the last race.

"A lot has been made of the situation that came about after my retirement in Abu Dhabi. I've received thousands of messages to my social media accounts – publicly and via DMs. Most have been supportive, but there's been a lot of hate and abuse, too.

"I've been trying to figure out the best way to go about handling this. Do I ignore it and carry on? Or do I address it and tackle the bigger issue that is sadly a reality when you use social media?

"This isn't some scripted statement, but rather me speaking my mind in the hope that this maybe sparks another conversation about online bullying and the drastic consequences it can have on people.

"Using social media as a channel to attack somebody with messages of hate, abuse and threats of violence is shocking – and something I am calling out."

Latifi accepted that as a "sports person who competes on the world stage," he was expecting criticism, but said what shocked him was "the extreme tone of the hate, abuse, and even the death threats I received".

Nicholas Latifi, Williams

Nicholas Latifi, Williams

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

He said those close to him had also received abuse online and said those sending such messages are "not true fans of the sport".

He added: "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 scrutinized. 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 behavior and not stay silent.

"To all the fans and people that did have my back during this whole situation, I want to say a huge thank you. I've seen and read a lot of your messages and they are much appreciated. It's nice to know I have so many people supporting me."

Latifi signed off by saying he hoped sharing his thoughts would "highlight the need for action" before adding: "Just be kind everyone!"

In a follow-up, Williams Racing added: "An important message from our driver @NicholasLatifi that we as a team wholeheartedly agree with."

Read Also:
shares
comments

Related video

How F1 teams tackled 2021's unique development war
Previous article

How F1 teams tackled 2021's unique development war

Next article

Santander returns to F1 in 2022 with Ferrari

Santander returns to F1 in 2022 with Ferrari
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022