Johnny Herbert Receives Death Threats Amid Controversy Over Alonso's Penalty

Herbert mentioned a previous disagreement with Alonso dating back to Bahrain two years prior

by Sead Dedovic
Johnny Herbert Receives Death Threats Amid Controversy Over Alonso's Penalty
© Jack Thomas/Getty Images for Fox Sports

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert revealed in a media interview that he received numerous death threats following the penalty he gave Fernando Alonso at the Australian GP. Herbert confirmed in an interview for Fastest Payout Online Casino that he was a steward at the Melbourne GP. Alonso received a 20-second time penalty. Herbert received a multitude of messages on social media after the race, disturbed by individuals' reactions.

“I was a steward at the Melbourne GP and the repercussions were awful,” Herbert said, as quoted by MIRROR!

“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.”

Reflecting on the circumstances, Herbert mentioned a previous disagreement with Alonso dating back to Bahrain two years prior. During his time with McLaren, Alonso had been critical of the engine, and Herbert, while working for Sky, suggested that if Alonso disliked it, he should consider leaving the team. This comment led to a confrontation between them live on air in Bahrain, where Alonso questioned Herbert's credentials as a commentator compared to his status as a world champion driver.

Herbert believes that this incident was later weaponized against him by Alonso's fans following the events in Australia.

Fans immediately seized upon that moment, believing that Herbert wanted to retaliate for Alonso's previous comments. However, this former F1 driver is surprised by the reactions from the fans of the experienced Spaniard, suggesting that such a moment did not influence the decision regarding the penalty.

Herbert confirmed that he received many messages, mostly negative and threatening. Some emphasized that they would come to his house because of the penalty.

“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.

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso© Mark Thompson/Getty Images Sport

Herbert explained that the majority of the negative messages came from Spanish fans. He expressed surprise that they didn't understand the decision, as it was clearly outlined in the statement that was released. Additionally, some criticized him for not being a world champion, telling that he wasn't qualified to make decisions regarding penalties. 

Spanish fans were evidently very frustrated. Alonso, as someone who has been in the F1 scene for years, has a large fan base. He's a man who has achieved great successes in his career. In this way, he has drawn the attention of F1 fans, where many are also supporters of the Spaniard. It's interesting to note that despite being 42 years old, Alonso is still performing extremely well. Some hope that Fernando could join one of the top teams like Mercedes and potentially compete for championship titles.

Despite the backlash, Herbert stated that it hasn't discouraged him from stewarding. He acknowledged that facing criticism is part of the role, particularly when serving as the drivers' steward, as was the case in Melbourne. He accepted it as part of the job and stated that it didn't bother him.

A major problem with today's social media is the regular occurrence of threats, regardless of the sport. Herbert is not the only person in the world of sports who has experienced this. A large number of current and popular athletes, as well as former ones, have complained about the messages they receive. Although efforts are made to prevent online abuse, such things are almost impossible to eradicate. Herbert emphasized that he still receives such messages. What frustrates him the most is that these threats and messages have no basis.

“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.

Johnny Herbert reacts

Herbert mentioned that threats like these happen often, and they worry him. Athletes and sports officials often get these scary messages, which can really upset them. It's not just sports people who get this kind of abuse; regular people do too.

He also said that social media websites should do more about it. They should stop it from happening, but they don't seem to be trying hard enough. Even though they say they can't figure out how to stop it, Herbert thinks they should try harder to fix the problem. 

Leaders of social media platforms have repeatedly emphasized their intentions to work more in this field, but sometimes it's challenging to completely eradicate such issues. What's most important is their willingness to do everything to minimize such occurrences. The impact that someone's words can have on an individual through social media can be enormous.

Herbert emphasized that while he can brush off the mean messages, he knows they can really hurt others. Ex F1 driver thinks when this happens, something should be done about it. But he feels like nothing ever happens.

He talked about how some people threatened to hurt him or said they knew where he lived. Herbert doesn't understand why anyone would do that. Johnny stressed that true F1 fans wouldn't act that way, and he believes Fernando Alonso would feel embarrassed if he knew his fans were doing that.