The Race will join other sports, athletes and media companies in supporting a social media blackout this weekend.
From 3pm UK time on Friday until 11.59pm on Monday, we will not post any content to our channels on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
While we are fortunate not to be subjected to disgusting hate and abuse on a regular basis like so many sports stars and celebrities are every day, we believe it is right to join those taking a stand to raise awareness and urging social media companies and relevant authorities to do more to combat this problem.
At times over the last year it has often looked like our sport has waited to be guided by world champion Lewis Hamilton on these issues, but it should not be up to Hamilton to carry the weight of these matters on his shoulders every time.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) April 30, 2021
On Friday morning, Williams driver George Russell confirmed he would be part of the blackout as well.
Social media blackout this weekend guys. Time to make a change. pic.twitter.com/OCRs5xLUos
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) April 30, 2021
“I thought it was important to do so because there is far too much online abuse, hatred, negativity, racism, that is just undeserved, and I feel like it’s our duty to raise as much awareness as possible,” he said.
“Not just within sport, but within all walks of live. I feel strongly about this and and I feel it was my duty to be part of this cause. Hopefully we can all make a change.”
When asked by The Race about the boycott on Thursday, Lando Norris had said he and McLaren were committed to helping tackle online abuse but was not sure if a boycott was the best solution.
After reflecting on the issue, he announced on Friday morning he would be part of it, stating that “hiding behind a keyboard is not OK” and that social media companies should do more to address abuse.
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) April 30, 2021
The social media blackout was initiated by the football community in the UK in reaction to the increasing levels of abuse and racism professional players are being subjected to on social media. Since then several other British sports have backed the cause, including cycling, cricket, rugby and tennis.
No major motorsport series has communicated plans to take part in the boycott but Formula E will cease activity on those platforms as well.
A statement from Formula E, issued when asked by The Race, read: “Last year we published an open letter. In it, we stated that Formula E stands ‘united against discrimination in any form, by nurturing a culture of inclusivity in all its forms’.
“This weekend is a moment of reflection on the hate speech and abuse that takes place on social media platforms.
“Given our ambition to accelerate positive change in the world, we will cease activity on our social media channels from 15.00 BST today until 23.59 BST Monday.”
Meanwhile, F1 has released a statement on social media expressing support for “the actions of the Premier League and other sporting bodies and athletes”, but made no suggestion that it itself would be joining the blackout.