Naomi Schiff has a great passion: motorsport.

But she's a woman, so apparently that's a problem for some.

Since the beginning of this Formula 1 season, the 28-year-old Belgian has been employed as an expert by the British TV broadcaster Sky.

Your task?

She explains to the spectators where the pitfalls of the various routes lurk, what influence the light has on the drivers - and where world champion Max Verstappen or record champion Lewis Hamilton made a mistake.

Michael Wittershagen

Responsible for sports in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

  • Follow I follow

And this is exactly where the trouble begins: when Schiff speaks on TV, criticism regularly pours down on her on social media, and it's not always about the matter at hand.

But also against you as a person.

Sky then issued a statement, which reads, among other things, "Hate will not win."

"No one looked like me"

Schiff hasn't won a Formula 1 World Championship like Damon Hill, she hasn't won a World Sportscar Championship like Martin Brundle, she hasn't even started a Formula 1 race like Paul Di Resta, all of whom also work for Sky.

The daughter of a Belgian father and a Rwandan mother, Schiff grew up in South Africa and only started karting at the age of 16.

So at an age when others have long been racing in various formula series and can look back on a decade of racing experience.

“I really didn't want to take part in my first race.

I found the whole thing pretty intimidating because nobody around me looked like me," she later said.

"But I really enjoyed it.

I came out with a big smile on my face and never looked back.”

Schiff has developed an impressive career that has taken her to Formula Volkswagen South Africa, Formula Renault Asia, the Ferrari Challenge Asia-Pacific and the Renault Clio Cup China, which she won in 2014.

She then switched to the Blancpain GT Series, competed in various 24-hour races and in 2019 was part of the W Series, a women-only single-seater series.

Not everyone believes that this CV is enough to judge Formula 1.

Schiff, who speaks perfect English and German, among other things, appears eloquently and sympathetically in front of the camera.

It is also appreciated by the drivers.

One of the first to back her up was Hamilton, who tweeted: "Naomi is a former professional racer and fully qualified to give her opinion as part of the Sky team.

She's been a great asset since she's been with us (in Formula 1, editor's note).

We still have a long way to go to change that attitude in sport.”

Hate speech in social media is increasingly a problem - this not only applies to sport, but also to it.

Just a few days ago, the world football association FIFA published a study that analyzed around 400,000 posts on Twitter in Instagram that had been published around the final of the 2020 European Championship and the 2022 African Championship.

The result: more than fifty percent of the coaches and players involved were victims of discriminatory posts.

At the World Cup in Qatar in winter, a special moderation service is to protect players, coaches, referees and officials from hate comments online.

"Unfortunately, the problem of online bullying is one that I don't think will go away any time soon," says Naomi Schiff.

She herself does not want to leave the stage.

On her Twitter channel she writes: “Dear @f1 and @WSeriesRacing, my best friends are getting married on May 10th 2023, please avoid hosting a race this weekend.

All efforts will be greatly appreciated.”