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F1 worker claims racist abuse


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#1 Pete_f1

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 17:05

A Formula 1 worker who was repeatedly called the n-word by colleagues at the Aston Martin F1 team has told Sky News more needs to be done to confront racism in motorsport.

Aidan Louw, 25, who is mixed race and was born in South Africa, worked as a laminator building parts of the cars driven by Sebastian Vettel at the prestigious F1 team's base next to Silverstone.


https://news.sky.com...-abuse-12652411

"It had taken me shift cycle after shift cycle of abuse after abuse, words going from n** n** and brownie to outright n***** when I am being called a n***** that's where I draw the line, that's where I go no."

As a dual citizen of both South Africa and the UK, Aidan holds two passports. He says the abuse included an apartheid era insult that is also extremely offensive.

On top of the racism Aidan also suffered homophobic abuse: "I disclosed to someone that I had a boyfriend in my teen years and that was it - in that split second everything switched…

Edited by Pete_f1, 15 July 2022 - 17:07.


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#2 RekF1

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 17:32

Matt Bishop dealt with this **** in a really refreshing way. He told some engineers that if they stop being a POS to certain people in their team, the car will go faster. Something like that anyway, but it makes sense.

Anyway I wish I was surprised by this story. 25 years old and probably sick of the industry because of what?

https://youtu.be/t4BbhzelWQQ

#3 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 17:36

Worth noting that Aston Martin say that he was dismissed for poor timekeeping and poor performance.


Edited by IrvTheSwerve, 15 July 2022 - 17:36.


#4 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 17:53

Worth noting that Aston Martin say that he was dismissed for poor timekeeping and poor performance.

those can be true and he still could have been subject to racist abuse, and that's equally wrong.

It needs proper investigating, serious accusations and no person should have to endure these things (if true).



#5 SophieB

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 18:00

I think it’s also worth pointing out that his employer investigated this and doesn’t dispute his claims of racism and homophobic abuse in the workplace.

 

@AstonMartinF1

We have a zero-tolerance policy on discriminatory behaviour of any kind. We were extremely disappointed that two of our supplier’s contractors had behaved so appallingly. We acted swiftly and applied our zero-tolerance policy. They no longer work for that supplier, therefore.



#6 mclarensmps

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 18:00

Worth noting that Aston Martin say that he was dismissed for poor timekeeping and poor performance.

His performance could also have been affected by his treatment. Regardless, it must have really sucked for him to work in those conditions. 



#7 thefinalapex

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 20:20

What is wrong with people these days…

#8 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 20:27

What is wrong with people these days…

Nothing, we're just hearing more about it. People being abused for being different, race, sexually or whatever other reason morons find.

It's getting probably better, but not at the pace it should.


Edited by MikeTekRacing, 15 July 2022 - 20:27.


#9 Bartonz20let

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 20:45

Nothing, we're just hearing more about it. People being abused for being different, race, sexually or whatever other reason morons find.
It's getting probably better, but not at the pace it should.

I'm from a minority group and I can honestly say, things are definitely not getting better at present.

If anything, things have started to creep backwards, you have new anti lgbtq laws appearing all over Eastern Europe and Russia, Trumpism in America and right leaning parties all making progress in Western Europe.

The last 5 years have dented progress, no doubt.

Edited by Bartonz20let, 15 July 2022 - 20:46.


#10 mjjTT

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 20:47

I saw part of the interview. It’s a wonder Aston martin f1 get anything done in such toxic environment. They seem to acknowledge it happend.

 

So not sure why the person(s) who did it and the head HR are not fired yet.



#11 pacificquay

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 21:24

I saw part of the interview. It’s a wonder Aston martin f1 get anything done in such toxic environment. They seem to acknowledge it happend.

 

So not sure why the person(s) who did it and the head HR are not fired yet.

AM says that the people who did it no longer work there.



#12 Myrvold

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 21:30

And then Saudi Arabia invests in AM.



#13 RekF1

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 23:30

And then Saudi Arabia invests in AM.


F1 racing with explosions in the background on a beautiful weekend where 81 people were executed for petty reasons. I can't believe that wasn't a bad dream. Yuck

#14 DoodoolTalla

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Posted 15 July 2022 - 23:37

What's up with the title? Aston has admitted to the abuse. 

 

Title needs be changed to "F1 worker subjected to racist and homophobic abuse".



#15 Whitelightning

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 12:19

Why do threads like this always get less attention than some of the ridiculous ones. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

Very sorry the person involved was subjected to this and I see AM have dealt with it. No place in the sport for any kind of abuse whether it’s at a race track like in Austria or within a team. Redbull seems to have the most issues throughout the organisation and hopefully more can be done but this shows it’s more widespread and who knows what isn’t being reported from others.

#16 owenmahamilton

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 12:46

Why do threads like this always get less attention than some of the ridiculous ones. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

Very sorry the person involved was subjected to this and I see AM have dealt with it. No place in the sport for any kind of abuse whether it’s at a race track like in Austria or within a team. Redbull seems to have the most issues throughout the organisation and hopefully more can be done but this shows it’s more widespread and who knows what isn’t being reported from others.

 

Sky Sports F1 have posted about it on their Facebook page and prevented people from commenting on it but there are over 100 laughing emoji responses so it seems like a lot of people on social media seem to think it's funny when in actual fact it's not at all funny, and I'm glad it has been dealt with.



#17 RedRabbit

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 13:40

Why do threads like this always get less attention than some of the ridiculous ones. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

Very sorry the person involved was subjected to this and I see AM have dealt with it. No place in the sport for any kind of abuse whether it’s at a race track like in Austria or within a team. Redbull seems to have the most issues throughout the organisation and hopefully more can be done but this shows it’s more widespread and who knows what isn’t being reported from others.


Some of us come here to discuss racing, race cars and driver performance. These topics have a very thin, if any, connection to a Racing Comments forum.

#18 noikeee

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 13:59

Why do threads like this always get less attention than some of the ridiculous ones.


They don't? Did you miss the Nelson Piquet thread, the Vips thread, the Russian karter thread, the Bernie supports Putin thread, the Max fans harassing women on the stands thread, the Mazepin gropes a woman and posts it in social media thread, the We Race as One thread, etc etc?

If anything people are probably getting a bit of fatigue from these stories, possibly. Also it's not a race weekend.

#19 DoodoolTalla

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 16:43

Why do threads like this always get less attention than some of the ridiculous ones. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

Very sorry the person involved was subjected to this and I see AM have dealt with it. No place in the sport for any kind of abuse whether it’s at a race track like in Austria or within a team. Redbull seems to have the most issues throughout the organisation and hopefully more can be done but this shows it’s more widespread and who knows what isn’t being reported from others.

I've noticed this as well. To make matters worse the comments on twitter and youtube are all toxic and are adding fuel to the fire. 

 

I've been following F1 for 28 years and I honestly had no idea it was this bad. It does make me feel very uncomfortable seeing the homophobia, misogyny and racist content that has come to light in recent years.



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#20 PayasYouRace

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 17:00

Some of us come here to discuss racing, race cars and driver performance. These topics have a very thin, if any, connection to a Racing Comments forum.

Events going on at a Formula 1 team are far more than a “very thin” connection to Racing Comments. As always, if you’re not interested, don’t click.



#21 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 17:16

Why do threads like this always get less attention than some of the ridiculous ones. Makes you wonder doesn’t it.

 

 

Because there's less grounds for discussion because the vast majority is in agreement?



#22 Pete_f1

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 18:02

I just can't believe that people think they can get away with this kind of thing

#23 absinthedude

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 18:40

Worth noting that Aston Martin say that he was dismissed for poor timekeeping and poor performance.

 

 

Which he attributes to his bad treatment. I imagine you'd perform at less than your optimal level if you knew that every time you entered your workplace you were going to be subjected to abuse which hit at the very core of your being.

 

Also worth noting that prior to Aston, he worked for Williams and McLaren where he enjoyed his time and seems to have been highly thought of. 

 

Sky Sports F1 have posted about it on their Facebook page and prevented people from commenting on it but there are over 100 laughing emoji responses so it seems like a lot of people on social media seem to think it's funny when in actual fact it's not at all funny, and I'm glad it has been dealt with.

 

Sometimes I draw the conclusion that our civilisation peaked around 20-30 years ago and is now on a rapid downward spiral. Historically, it is about the right time. The fact that anyone could think it's in any way funny, is quite disturbing.



#24 SophieB

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 18:43

I just can't believe that people think they can get away with this kind of thing

This is one of the ways that senior figures in the sport speaking out does actually sometimes do some good, I think. People who have been taking abuse who previously figured no-one would take them seriously possibly now feel more confident in speaking out about it.



#25 Brian60

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 18:43

Abuse of any form should never be tolerated, but its interesting that he was not an employee of AM, he was a contractor - so a third party. Apparently so too were those who were aiming abuse at him. So while it falls at AM to take action about it and ultimitely take the blame, all of them were not AM employees. In essense outside contractors have brought AM's reputation into disrepute. Having said that, if anyone has seen the interview this guy gave to Skynews its no surprise they let him go. The interview starts off well but towards the end just degenerates into an angry young man showing his own dark side. I'm afraid if anyone I employed resorted to shouting and and angry gestures as he showed ot the reporter, then I too would have shown him the door.



#26 WouterF1

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 19:06

 Having said that, if anyone has seen the interview this guy gave to Skynews its no surprise they let him go. The interview starts off well but towards the end just degenerates into an angry young man showing his own dark side. I'm afraid if anyone I employed resorted to shouting and and angry gestures as he showed ot the reporter, then I too would have shown him the door.

 

:rolleyes: Maybe you  can imagine that he becomes angry when he tells what happend to him at work! ".... showing his own dark side." :rolleyes:

 

At Aston Martin they called him  n** n** and brownie to outright n***** !!! On top of the racism Aidan also suffered homophobic abuse.

 

And you are not surprised they let him go?! You would have shown him the door?! :rolleyes:

 

He also worked for Williams and McLaren where he enjoyed his time and seems to have been highly thought of. They treated him as a nice young  human being. :up:


Edited by WouterF1, 16 July 2022 - 19:11.


#27 Nemo1965

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 19:46

Isn't it possible that a person is a worthless employé, has a terrible character, has bad body odour AND that at the same time he or she does not deserve to insulted? 



#28 jjcale

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:00

To those who know who they are:

 

He should have reported the racism sooner .... in the UK the climate is very supportive if/when such reports are made .... so if you are experiencing this - dont hesitate - report if you consider that you are being harassed and abused.

 

Dont curl up into a ball ... dont feel sorry for yourself ... dont get super angry or be otherwise too emotional (as this guy seems have done) .... take effective action ... and keep it moving.

 

 

To everyone:

 

Its impossible to say he was a rubbish worker or a bad guy ... we dont know enough to have a sensible opinion. 

 

As we have seen from a couple of recent threads... this sort of thing affects some people really badly .... and it needs to be considered and taken into account by those of you who feel you know enough to form a view about this guy. 

 

 

and finally ...

 

I dont know if its a good or a bad thing that this storm in a teacup has gotten so much attention .... but its certainly interesting that such a minor matter has gotten coverage. 

 

Interesting times ....



#29 pacificquay

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:04

To those who know who they are:

 

He should have reported the racism sooner 

 

 

To everyone:

 

Its impossible to say he was a rubbish worker or a bad guy ... we dont know enough to have a sensible opinion. 

….

 

and finally ...

 

I dont know if its a good or a bad thing that this storm in a teacup has gotten so much attention .... but its certainly interesting that such a minor matter has gotten coverage. 

 

Interesting times ....

Don’t you dare tell a victim how they should or should not have reported something.

 

 

And it’s disgusting you call this a “storm in a teacup” and a “minor matter”. It is neither.



#30 jjcale

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:09

Don’t you dare tell a victim how they should or should not have reported something.

 

 

And it’s disgusting you call this a “storm in a teacup” and a “minor matter”. It is neither.

 

I am entitled to my opinion ... like everyone else.

 

I am also free to give my advice ... like everyone else.

 

People are free to take the advice/listen to my opinion ... or not.

 

 

I am guessing that you are one of those who knows about racism only viciously .... feel free to correct me if I am wrong. 

 

I also think think the bit in bold shows you got a bit too excited and misread my post....



#31 pacificquay

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:12

I am entitled to my opinion ... like everyone else.

 

I am also free to give my advice ... like everyone else.

 

People are free to take the advice/listen to my opinion ... or not.

 

 

I am guessing that you are one of those who knows about racism only viciously .... feel free to correct me if I am wrong. 

 

I also think think the bit in bold shows you got a bit too excited and misread my post....

I read exactly what the words said, I’m not excited by it only depressed.



#32 absinthedude

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:17

Anyone can give their opinion.

 

And anyone else can rip it to shreds if they feel that is necessary.

 

While it's true that racial and other abuse affects individuals differently, I certainly would never tell someone how they should feel or act when subject to such abuse. The law and general attitude may well be on the side of the abused employee....but he still might not feel safe reporting it. 



#33 AncientLurker

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:18

Good to hear more of this is coming to light and it will hopefully help move things forward in a positive direction. It doesn’t help to pretend it doesn’t it exist or blame the victim for not speaking up, acting sooner, etc.

The other sad part of these threads is that they make it very clear why this attitude and racial abuse still exists.

#34 jjcale

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:28

Anyone can give their opinion.

 

And anyone else can rip it to shreds if they feel that is necessary.

 

While it's true that racial and other abuse affects individuals differently, I certainly would never tell someone how they should feel or act when subject to such abuse. The law and general attitude may well be on the side of the abused employee....but he still might not feel safe reporting it. 

 

Isnt it better for everyone ... society as a whole, even ... if reports are made promptly?

 

I suspect that in this case, the guy might still be in his job if he had done so.... there is a suggestion in a post above that he worked elsewhere and was seen as competent/reliable ... so its not a massive stretch to speculate that the abuse affected his performance negatively and he might have been better off nipping it in the bud. 

 

I understand that people are individuals and everyone is different .... but I am giving a general suggestion... not one tailored to specific persons

 

.... and I cant see how it someone could consider it "disgusting" if I make a suggestion as to how persons affected might best react.... at minimum that seems like an abuse of language. Surely, there is a more appropriate word.



#35 HerbieMcQueen

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 21:39

A bit surprised to see that some express shock that the back-end, unseen parts of Formula 1 and Formula 1 teams aren't a utopian playground. For better or worse, motor racing has always been full of burly, loud, less than perfectly couth guys that might say or believe some less than savoury things.

 

With that said, were these comments warranted? No. Never. Can you tease, nickname, and josh around with co-workers without being racist? Yes, it happens all the time and it's normal and it's not difficult to not bring race into it. Sorry for the guy, I don't know his background and why he's moved around teams so much but if he's a contractor I suppose you're on the go quite often. Hope he lands on his feet in a nicer environment elsewhere. I'm sure making dramatic remarks at each other on this forum will fix it.



#36 Autodromo

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 22:06

Isnt it better for everyone ... society as a whole, even ... if reports are made promptly?

 

I suspect that in this case, the guy might still be in his job if he had done so.... there is a suggestion in a post above that he worked elsewhere and was seen as competent/reliable ... so its not a massive stretch to speculate that the abuse affected his performance negatively and he might have been better off nipping it in the bud. 

 

I understand that people are individuals and everyone is different .... but I am giving a general suggestion... not one tailored to specific persons

 

.... and I cant see how it someone could consider it "disgusting" if I make a suggestion as to how persons affected might best react.... at minimum that seems like an abuse of language. Surely, there is a more appropriate word.

I suspect you are not a minority who has been harassed at work?  A place where you have little to no power and a job you need to make rent?  It is hard to bring this up not knowing what will happen.  Sure, you may get compensated some day for your grief but in the meantime you become homeless because you don't have a job.  The key is that people FEEL powerless and there are good reasons for this.  Sure it would be great if they brought it up sooner but the right things to have happened are 1) for the employees never to have done it in the first place and 2) their fellow employees to have told them to f*** off and gotten those a-holes fired.  So blaming the victim for not responding like you think they should is missing the point; a victim shouldn't have to report things that many people know about already.



#37 RekF1

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Posted 16 July 2022 - 22:08

To those who know who they are:

He should have reported the racism sooner .... in the UK the climate is very supportive if/when such reports are made .... so if you are experiencing this - dont hesitate - report if you consider that you are being harassed and abused.

Also, if you've been suffering from domestic abuse, just walk away and don't wear a short dress.

Edited by RekF1, 16 July 2022 - 22:09.


#38 mclarensmps

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 02:22

To those who know who they are:

 

He should have reported the racism sooner .... in the UK the climate is very supportive if/when such reports are made .... so if you are experiencing this - dont hesitate - report if you consider that you are being harassed and abused.

 

Dont curl up into a ball ... dont feel sorry for yourself ... dont get super angry or be otherwise too emotional (as this guy seems have done) .... take effective action ... and keep it moving.

 

 

I'm personally an incredibly thick skinned person, and I used to think like that not just in terms of racist remarks, but also bullying and insults (coming from a minority background, and being overweight growing up). I used to wonder why words affect others so much, because they don't affect me in the slightest. If I got some, I'd be happy to dish some back, no problem. So why don't others do the same? Confounded me all through Jr School, High School, College, and even some early jobs.

It wasn't until I became a people manager in my career, that I started understanding how and why people didn't behave, react, or didn't react like I did. In a workplace, especially, someone who feels victimized can feel like their job is at stake if they complain because of the company culture. There are people who feel like if they don't go along with the things that are being said to them, it would make things worse. Maybe people won't cooperate with them to get their own work done. Maybe they won't be able to make friends, or socialize AT ALL. Maybe it triggers their own anxiety in a way that affects their own performance. 

People come from different backgrounds, different upbringings, they could have grown up going through either physical or mental abuse, and be conditioned to others treating them this way. In that situation, it's really difficult for these people to have the confidence or courage to speak out, even to the appropriate channels, to have these issues investigated.

There are so many factors, that I've now realised that different people are built their own way. Your advice may work for a few people, who just need a slight push in the right direction to make the changes needed to improve their work life, however, not everyone is equipped to deal with things in that way, and it's a lot harder for them to come to terms with it and deal with it. Unfortunately, there isn't a blanket solution to issues like this for everyone. 



#39 fed up

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 05:09

Abuse of any form should never be tolerated, but its interesting that he was not an employee of AM, he was a contractor - so a third party. Apparently so too were those who were aiming abuse at him. So while it falls at AM to take action about it and ultimitely take the blame, all of them were not AM employees. In essense outside contractors have brought AM's reputation into disrepute. Having said that, if anyone has seen the interview this guy gave to Skynews its no surprise they let him go. The interview starts off well but towards the end just degenerates into an angry young man showing his own dark side. I'm afraid if anyone I employed resorted to shouting and and angry gestures as he showed ot the reporter, then I too would have shown him the door.

This post sums up why these episodes keep on rearing their ugly head in society today. It starts off with the obligatory “should never be tolerated” and then goes on to absolve, blame and detract. When we get to a point in society where we just say it is wrong, full stop, these things will stop. Eventually.

 

What we’re seeing lately is big brands being tarnished with this scourge. AM don’t want this type of publicity nor RBR, because it’s not a good look, so the publicity will help to stamp these things out not excuses and blind defence.



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#40 Sterzo

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 12:31

I'd echo jjcale's advice to remain calm and factual and to report problems early, if you can. We know that many victims of all kinds of abuse feel unable to do this, but it remains good advice to follow if you are able.

 

Once had to investigate a claim of racial discrimination at work, and the measured attitude of the complainant made the whole thing so much easier. One witness was more emotional about the whole thing, and that acted as an obstacle to finding out the facts.



#41 pacificquay

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 13:29

Yes woe betide anyone would be upset or emotional at having witnessed something traumatic



#42 PitViperRacing

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 13:34

Yes woe betide anyone would be upset or emotional at having witnessed something traumatic


I don't think that is what anyone is saying. I think they're just pointing out that the optimal solution is most often to report any of this stuff early.

I don't believe they're saying that a victim has to report it, or that it's unreasonable for a victim not to due to how they're feeling.

#43 Brian60

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 17:26

:rolleyes: Maybe you  can imagine that he becomes angry when he tells what happend to him at work! ".... showing his own dark side." :rolleyes:

 

At Aston Martin they called him  n** n** and brownie to outright n***** !!! On top of the racism Aidan also suffered homophobic abuse.

 

And you are not surprised they let him go?! You would have shown him the door?! :rolleyes:

 

He also worked for Williams and McLaren where he enjoyed his time and seems to have been highly thought of. They treated him as a nice young  human being. :up:

Nice cherry picking so that the sentence you quoted bears no resemblance to the entire post, maybe such cherry picking is part of the overall problem and you by doing so are making the overall abuse question a lesser priority? The louder you shout and protest the less likely people are to bother taking notice because its the 'same old same old'



#44 absinthedude

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 18:21

It is very easy for someone who's never experienced emotional or physical abuse based on an their characteristics they are born with, to say "Oh, I advise reporting it to a manager and perhaps the police".

 

It is highly likely that these people's lives to date have involved a lot of situations where such bullying and abuse *was* reported and nothing happened, insufficient action was taken or they were even blamed for bringing it upon themselves.



#45 Sterzo

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 19:14

Yes woe betide anyone would be upset or emotional at having witnessed something traumatic

Not sure how you can comment on a case I investigated. The person I referred to witnessed nothing traumatic.

 

 

It is very easy for someone who's never experienced emotional or physical abuse based on an their characteristics they are born with, to say "Oh, I advise reporting it to a manager and perhaps the police".

It's still basically the right advice. Those who have said so (certainly jjcale and myself) have acknowledged it's not for everyone.

 

We've probably drifted far enough away from Aston Martin now...
 



#46 CoolBreeze

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Posted 17 July 2022 - 23:06

There's proof from his claims?



#47 P123

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Posted 18 July 2022 - 00:10

There's proof from his claims?

 

From Aston Martin themselves - https://the-race.com...and-homophobia/

 

 

We deal with any allegations of such unacceptable behaviour seriously, including thoroughly investigating such claims and sanctioning any individuals who fall short of our standards. In this case, Mr A was rightly believed, his complaints were immediately acted upon and appropriate sanctions were imposed in line with our and our supplier’s zero-tolerance policy. As a result, the individuals involved no longer work for AMF1’s supplier and have no connection whatsoever with AMF1.



#48 F1 Mike

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Posted 20 July 2022 - 23:25

I'm not doubting the seriousness and truth of the claims in this case, and clearly it will have had an emotional effect, but the way the guy came across in the interview with sky, it seemed like he would be a difficult person to get on with.

I'm only basing that opinion on the interview alone though

#49 bargeboard

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Posted 21 July 2022 - 00:08

I'm not doubting the seriousness and truth of the claims in this case, and clearly it will have had an emotional effect, but the way the guy came across in the interview with sky, it seemed like he would be a difficult person to get on with.

I'm only basing that opinion on the interview alone though


So you've never met the guy or seen him interviewed before, but based on one interview where he was discussing how he'd been mistreated and abused, he seemed difficult? How dare he!

#50 pacificquay

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Posted 21 July 2022 - 07:43

I'm not doubting the seriousness and truth of the claims in this case, and clearly it will have had an emotional effect, but the way the guy came across in the interview with sky, it seemed like he would be a difficult person to get on with.

I'm only basing that opinion on the interview alone though

Not sure what the relevance of this is.

 

Even if he was an insufferable *****, why should that lead to racial abuse?