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PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 16: In this handout provided by the FIA, F1 World Champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing poses with Kelly Piquet during the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony on December 16, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by FIA/Handout/via Getty Images)

Why is Verstappen’s partner Kelly Piquet target of online abuse?

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 16: In this handout provided by the FIA, F1 World Champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing poses with Kelly Piquet during the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony on December 16, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by FIA/Handout/via Getty Images)

Max Verstappen has lashed out at by social media haters who have been trolling his partner Kelly Piquet, after she made an impassioned plea for the online abuse, fake news and disinformation to end.

Red Bull’s triple Formula 1 World Champion, came out in defence of his girlfriend when he responded to her Instagram post that highlighted the abuse and called for common sense to prevail. The pair have dated since 2021. It is as Italians say a casino without break.

What caused the hate and trolling of Kelly to go so ugly and so viral on social media?

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Pink Villa report that “in the F1 community, Kelly Piquet has frequently been at the core of controversy. Most recently, the ex-wife of former Formula 1 driver Jerome D’Ambrosio accused her of trying to break up her marriage.

“Earlier, she was also accused of breaking Verstappen’s previous relationship as well as cheating on her previous partner, the father of her daughter Penelope, ex-F1 driver Daniil Kvyat. Such allegations have fueled the online hate, pushing Piquet to publicly defend herself and clarify the truth,” claims the report.

In the wake of Kelly’s post, 26-year-old Verstappen wrote in reply: “This has to stop. These false accusations by certain individuals on Instagram and TikTok are insane and ridiculous at the same time. Hate has no place in this world. We know what’s true within our family and we are very happy together. I love you.”

This came after Kelly, daughter of tiple F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet, wrote to her 1.5-million Instagram followers:

Transcript of the note by Ms. Piquet: “A note from me and a gentle reminder to all… The online world can be a wonderful place for various reasons, but a very scary one when wrong information and lies are thrown around.

“For over three years, I’ve been navigating a very strange and upsetting wave of accusations, rumours, fabricated situations, fake testimonials, photoshopped screenshots…you name it. All the while staying silent and not playing into these ridiculous claims.

“Accusations made in the past months especially have taken on another level of defamation. Those who know me know that I would never put myself in such positions, say certain things or act in such a way. I am far from perfect, but I do take pride in my values, morals and manners.

“Let’s be clear, as a human being, the comments and hate affect me and the people around me deeply. I hope this serves as a reminder for people to verify online content before making threats. Remember, as James Clear says, ‘every action we take is a vote for who we want to be’. Let’s choose to be better humans to ourselves and others’,” concluded Kelly Piquet’s post.

The top responder was Verstappen. This in itself prompted doubts in the comments of the post that the message was even written by the World Champion, such is the extent of the apparent disinformation and misplaced mistrust.

United Against Online Abuse is being tested every day by trolls

United against Online Abuse FIA F1 campaign

Last year we reported that Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, has ramped up its promised campaign to combat the scourge of online abuse by launching a website to further promote the cause.

The advent of social media has come to the point that hate, racism and abuse, by cyber bullies and outright troublemakers, online are at an all-time high, with the various platforms unwilling to root out the menace with the tricky algorithms that control the narrative of all news on the globe.

With anyone able to spew hate and abuse without much consequence, as traffic aka money is king in the internet world, blocking the baddies would mean a massive loss in traffic (aka revenue) one has to imagine. So the news (sports and F1 of course included) narrative is clouded by ulterior motives.

The dedicated www.unitedagainstonlineabuse.com website serves as the central hub for resources, information and support related to the campaign’s mission, guided by three core principles:

  1. Strength in unity;
  2. Adopting a research-led approach;
  3. Commitment to action by supporting our athletes, fans, officials and partners who are the many targets of this issue.

At the time of the launch in December last year, FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, declared war against online abuse when he stated: “The FIA is fully committed to preserving the sporting environment as a welcoming and respectful community for all.”