Johnny Herbert faced 'torrent of death threats’ after Fernando Alonso penalty

Johnny Herbert says he received death threats from Fernando Alonso fans after his penalty in Australia.

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has acted as an FIA steward
Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has acted as an FIA steward

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert has revealed he received “a torrent of death threats” as a result of the penalty handed out to Fernando Alonso at the Australian Grand Prix.

Three-time grand prix winner Herbert was part of the stewarding panel who issued Alonso with a 20-second time penalty for “potentially dangerous” driving prior to George Russell’s crash as they battled for position in the closing stages in Melbourne.

Herbert says he was “thrown under the bus” by Alonso fans for a spat that occurred live on air when he was part of Sky Sports F1’s punditry line-up.

“I was a steward at the Melbourne GP and the repercussions were awful,” Herbert told Fastest Payout Online Casino.

“I got a torrent of death threats via social media. I am lucky I have got broad shoulders. I find it pathetic that I was the one thrown under the bus.”

Herbert added: “It goes back to Bahrain two years ago I think. Some years before when he was with McLaren, Alonso had been on the radio slagging off the engine almost every race saying it was like a GP2 engine. He was really vocal. I was working for Sky and said if Alonso didn’t like it he should leave the team. I didn’t say retire.

“Then he came up to me live on air in Bahrain and had a dig at me saying he was a world champion and would not retire and become a commentator because you were not a world champion.

“The fans then used that as a weapon against me after Australia.”

Fernando Alonso (ESP), Aston Martin Racing Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park,
Fernando Alonso (ESP), Aston Martin Racing Formula 1 World Championship,…

Herbert insists the incidents have not put him off stewarding in the future.

“There were messages with dagger emojis at the bottom of the screen; people saying we know where you live, we will come for you,” he said.

“Most of them were Spanish.  They should have understood because it was so clear how and the decision was arrived at in the statement that was put out.

“People were also saying because I had never been a world champion I was not qualified to have a say in it.

"It has not put me off stewarding.  It’s all part and parcel of it unfortunately. I was the drivers’ steward in Melbourne so when it is a driving steward he is the one who gets the hard time. I accept it. It is not an issue.”

Herbert has called on social media platforms to do more to combat online abuse.

“The threats lasted for two weeks and still are coming. It is part of the social media world where everyone has an opinion but don’t have the facts to back it up,” he said.

“It happens too much now. Athletes, officials in many sports get bombarded with death threats. And many do suffer a lot because of it. The filth and abuse happens in all walks of life even to ordinary people.

“Those platforms should be on top of it. But they are not. They allow it to happen. I don’t understand why. They should take action. But they say they cannot find a way of stopping it. I don’t believe that.

“I can laugh about it. We are lucky that it doesn’t affect us. But it does hurt many people. When it does happen, action should be taken. Something has to be done about it. But I never hear anything being done.

“The comments about knowing where I lived. The daggers and the threats that they were going to hurt me. I don’t get the mentality of people who do that. They are not true F1 fans and I am sure Fernando would be embarrassed if he knew that his fans were doing that.”

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