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Formula One commentator suspended after calling Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll ‘autistic’ during Austrian GP coverage

Lionel Froissart was working for the Belgian French-language network RTBF Sport.

Abhishek Sandikar Author

Published on - 14 July 2022 11:34 am

Formula 1 Commentator Lionel Froissart has been suspended for his comments on Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll. Froissart was quoted calling the Canadian driver ‘Autistic’ during the Austrian Grand Prix.

The Belgian commentator was heard saying, Aston Martin “want to keep Vettel, it’s not Lance Stroll the autistic who is going to understand anything about cars”. Froissart was called out by his fellow commentator Gaetan Vigneron who considered the remark “too strong” and that he “went too far”, but Froissart doubled down and replied, “Honestly, that is the truth.”

RTBF Sport network released a statement addressing the incident and condemned Froissart’s actions. “RTBF strongly condemns the words used on Sunday, July 10, on air by its consultant Lionel Froissart during the Austrian Grand Prix,” read the statement. “Associating autism with a driver’s way of communicating was misplaced and completely inconsistent with RTBF values.”

“An internal investigation will be conducted, to hear all the involved persons. The goal is to understand in detail what could have led to this incident. Pending the results of this investigation, RTBF will no longer work with the consultant in question until further notice.”

Stroll’s team, Aston Martin has told PlanetF1 that they are “pleased” with the apology. The team was quoted saying, “Aston Martin is pleased that RTBF has issued a full apology, which we understand from them to be their official line on the matter.” 

In the last few weeks, the treatment of drivers has been making headlines, starting from Red Bull driver Max Verstappen receiving ‘boos’ and ‘hate’ during the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. Then Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was subjected to abuse at the Red Bull ring in the Austrian GP. 

 

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