Sebastian Vettel brushes off boo-boys, but Christian Horner lambasts them
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Sep 2013   |  9:41 pm GMT  |  720 comments

Sebastian Vettel has said that he is not affected by the repeated instances of booing on the podium after he wins races, but his team boss Christian Horner has denounced Vettel’s detractors as “unsporting”.

Once again, after winning the Singapore Grand Prix, Vettel was booed during his interview on the podium. This has become a pattern this season and Vettel laughingly suggested that the people booing him are on a “world tour”.

This has been a notable feature of the 2013 world championship and its origins would seem to go back to the Malaysian Grand Prix in March, where Vettel disobeyed team orders and passed Mark Webber for the win in the closing stages. Booing was noticeable in races that followed particularly where he won, like Montreal. At Monza a driver who beats Ferrari expects to be booed – Lewis Hamilton was quite shaken by it last year.

But it’s become a noticeable feature of races lately and many F1 pundits put it down to a hangover from Malaysia, rather than simply because he is winning all the time. Singapore was his seventh win in 13 races this year.

Another factor is the introduction of the podium interviews, which has given those who wish to boo Vettel a platform. These were introduced in Silverstone 2012, with mixed results, but by and large have been a success. Save for the fact that they showcase the dissenters when Vettel wins the race.

Vettel has suffered something of an image problem for several years with incidents like Turkey in 2010 where he collided with Webber and implied Webber was crazy; Silverstone where the team took Webber’s front wing and gave it to Vettel for qualifying, promoting Webber to say via radio “Not bad for a Number two driver” as he won the race the next day.

This website has consistently argued that this image problem is of the team’s own creation – the way certain people within the team have managed situations like those listed, has contributed to a negative impression of Vettel which he does not deserve and furthermore, it was unnecessary because he is good enough to win without needing to create any impression that he is protected or favoured within the team. It has been counterproductive and he is now paying the price. Mark Webber has certainly played on this and fans and many pundits have given him a lot of sympathy for that.

Vettel’s actions in Malaysia were all of his own making and were wrong, as he admitted after the race. But by then he had claimed the extra seven points so it was all rather academic.


Like Michael Schumacher being gifted the victory in Austria 2002 by Ferrari when Rubens Barrichello had the race won, another event that promoted a volley of boos on the podium, Vettel didn’t need the extra points from Malaysia, as it turns out. He has dominated the season and will clinch the title in India or Abu Dhabi in all probability, with two or three races to spare.

Red Bull Racing is the dominant team in F1 at the moment and that domination kills the excitement of the sport.

But Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner refused to see the funny side,

“Of course he says it doesn’t affect him and he doesn’t feel it, but he is a human being at the end of the day,” Horner said.

“When you have driven your heart out and got that reaction up there, to me it is not fair. To me, it is not sporting.

“I don’t think it is deserved in any way. He has got a broad set of shoulders but like anyone he has feelings and I don’t think it is right.”

Asked whether he thought the “Multi 21” scandal in Malaysia had triggered this response from audiences around the world, Horner said,

“I don’t know what it is, to be honest with you. I think that for sure Malaysia did not help but, as we know, Malaysia has happened.

“It’s been done, there has been an awful lot written about it and there were circumstances that were involved in that.

“There is a small collective group and it is like a pantomime, but it is so unfair because it is not sporting,” added Horner.

“The boy today has driven an unbelievable race. What you have witnessed today is one of the best drives that I have seen him produce in terms of raw pace, and I just don’t think it is sporting to see a driver who has put a performance in like that not get the reception he deserves.”

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1

i take your comments on board but i totally disagree with some of your assumptions. if you can recall, what were the original comments? why did vettel, falsely as it turned out, apologise? why would the team engineer a reversal of position? why did horner, weakly, admonish vettel at the time of the pass?

why was vettel allowed to make a decision, that webber didn’t deserve to win, when horner and he had a pre race agreement with webber? what were the consequences alluded to by horner just a few weeks ago?

many unanswered questions which i would like to have answers for. to blithely pass it off is too easy. the knock on effect is still being felt months and months later. i might add that by introducing past actions only weakens the argument. if vettel/horner were so incensed over the past actions of webber, as you allude to, then why would they enter into a multi 12/21 arrangement in the first place? in one of my earlier posts i suggested that it was a collusion between horner and vettel as they never expected that webber would outdrive vettel and be leading the race on merit. when that happened vettel took it into his own hands and horner did nothing to stop him.

i guess that it is all academic now but it certainly doesn’t take away the bitterness at seeing a driver like webber massively dumped on by his team. RBR are still feeling the backlash and i certainly hope that it continues unabated. i am certain that there is a lot that we may never know unless webber et al decide to publish. now that i would like to see.

2

People all over the world (not just Jackie Stewart and Niki lauda plus many other former race drivers) were appalled by Vettel’s disobedience, deceit, false apology and retraction of false apology after the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix (“I would do the same again”). I’m not fussed if the Vettel booing continues up to Malaysia 2014, so that everyone can have their say. Wait until the 2014 season opener…if Vettel happens to finish on the podium there…

True champions are not back-stabbers. They are humble and show grace. Sebastian Vettel has given us none of that. He’s not a champion in my mind, regardless of what the record books say.

Adrian Newey, however, is a champion of his craft.

3

for gadfly. a few points here. i was not being disrespectful towards james at all. he is one of the very few F1 journalists that i enjoy. let that be clear. what i was inferring was that certain comments are made but very rarely are they pursued for clarity….’there were consequences etc etc etc’

the initial thread was concerned with the booing and the ‘why’ of it all. yes, murray walker has been involved in F1 for a long time and his depth of F1 knowledge is not being questioned. what is being questioned is to quote his ‘opinion’ as though it has more meaning than yours or mine. i simply don’t buy that.

as for the ‘multi 21’ debacle, yes, it does need dragging out and given further prominence. it could well have influenced the WDC and WCC outcome.

you state that there may have been mitigating circumstances in-house. if so then why weren’t they explained? just recall the event. if some seek to know why the crowds are booing then RBR themselves owe it to the fans to explain their dishourable actions vis-a-vis sepang.

i do think that the booing results from more than one issue but it is the blatant disregard for webber that rankles most of all. prior to sepang i don’t recall vettel being booed? think about it.

finally, the difference between marquez and his overtakes is that they are ‘cojones out’ racing. not pouncing on a defencless team mate who has his engine revs turned down and also honouring a pre race strategy commitment. i rest my case.

4

Kenneth: I do realise any disrespect was unintended (I state that in my original post) …

But to re-iterate, there is no need for RBR or Vettel (or anyone else for that matter) to have to defend or discuss what happened in Sepang. It happened, and the consequences in terms of fan perception of Vettel clearly remain. From their point of view, nothing said or done relating to Sepang will change that now – only aggravate the situation further.

We already know the reasons Vettel ignored team orders. He was very clear in China. In his opinion, Webber didn’t deserve that win, and the team must have agreed with him ultimately, (not at the time … but once Vettel framed his argument) hence the lack of punishment. Horner pointed out how Webber had himself ignored team orders in the past. This likely impacted RBR’s response to the situation. Plus, they may have been unhappy at some of Webber’s own behaviour and comments to the press – who knows? We may not EVER know the full story behind these actions … and it’s not our divine right to know. It was ultimately an internal matter. It’s your – or any fan’s – prerogative to disagree with Vettel’s opinion on Sepang, but that’s what it amounts to, a difference in opinion. Vettel thought his actions were justified; others don’t.

Furthermore, it isn’t RBR who are demanding to know why there are boos. Vettel ‘joked’ about the boo bus on the podium in Singapore because the boos coulsn’t be ignored, but in the main, Vettel/RBR are solely responding to journalist questions, not engaging in public soul-searching … it would serve no purpose.

Finally, I am not comparing Marc Marquez to Vettel in Sepang, I am merely contextualising the moment when the motoGP commentator described motor-racing as ‘not knitting.’

5

Spot on, Gadfly.

6

in order to somewhat simplify what is fastly becoming a bigger issue i did politely ask you,alberto dietz, to answer a simple question which you have completely ignored, choosing rather to side with other like minded posters.

obviously you have no answer.a simple yes or no was asked for, c’mon…it’s not that hard?

as for reading what the other posters have said…well i have read them and i have responded from a different perspective but then again that is my prerogative in any debate, is it not? ooops, another question.

7

james,did you by any chance question murray as to what he thinks is the catalyst for these actions?

did you by any chance ask murray what he thought of vettels actions in sepang and did he think that they were dishonest?

did you ask murray what he thought of having horner up there on the dais with vettel as it was he who refused to sanction vettel for his dishonesty in sepang?

now, i haven’t heard the interview but i would still like to know if anyone asks these questions or do they simply ignore them gloss over the reality. some good investigative journalism might be the way to go.

at the end of the day murray walker is simply one person and he has an opinion like everyone else. the fact that the booing upsets him is fine, it doesn’t upset me to the same degree.

8

Kenneth Chapman: Relax, then read again, very slowly, not only my comments, but also those by James, JCA, Olivier and Gadfly.

9

Sorry to say but it sounds to me like you are being a tad disrespectful here towards James, (probably unintended…) who as the host of this site warrants our respect for allowing us to freely post our opinions on his site… (Arguably, GP hosts who meticulously stage podium ceremonies don’t deserve a chorus of boos marring the occasion, either).

Obviously we haven’t heard the interview yet, (I look forward to it), but even if the Multi 21 ‘debacle’ isn’t being regurgitated, blow-by-blow, ad nauseum, it’s still worth hearing an opinion on the booing itself from someone like Murray Walker, who has infinitely more historical knowledge and experience of F1 than I suspect you or I have.

And even if Multi 21 IS a catalyst/excuse for much of the booing this season, what purpose would an in-depth ‘investigation’ of the incident serve, several months after it first happened? What do fans harping on constantly about Multi 21 really want? Verifiable justification of their own sense of moral outrage? A formal enquiry leading to externally imposed punitive measures against RBR/Vettel? (It would never happen…, and nor should it).

Really, there’s a whole host of morally objectionable stuff going on in this world right now that’s genuinely worth getting het up about… which is why I don’t get the continuing fuss over Multi 21. Ultimately, Multi 21 was a team issue and in no shape or form breached F1 regulations. The matter was handled in-house – though clearly not to the exacting standards of those demanding Vettel was hung, drawn and quartered for such a ‘deadly serious’ moral misdemeanour. There may well have been mitigating internal circumstances that we know nothing about, nor do we automatically ‘deserve’ to know either. F1 is a competitive sport/business, not a public service.

It’s fine to disagree with Vettel for thinking that Webber didn’t ‘deserve’ that win and snatching it for himself, but ultimately he had his own reasons to justify his actions at the time – whether we agree with him or not. It’s basically a difference in opinion; certainly not a breach of regulations, nor worthy of time-consuming in-depth research.

In any case, we’ll likely have memoirs and biographies from the key players in years to come which will discuss the affair in some detail, I’ve no doubt.

There have been multiple morally ‘questionable’ incidents in F1 over the years, and there will be many more to come. “It’s not knitting”, as one of the MotoGP commentators recently said of racing after a particularly risky and rather ‘rude’ (though exciting!) overtake from Marc Marquez!

10

I believe Vettel isn’t regarded as genuine by the boo-boys. Hence the outcry?

Could it be that multi 21 isn’t really the issue but the way he handled it afterwards? Would the boo-boys have forgiven him if he firmly stated that he did not feel sorry for what he did.

Can we draw parallels with Lewis Hamilton’s lying in 2011(?)? Lewis did show genuine regret afterwards and the boo-boys forgave him? …

And what about Alonso brutally passing Massa in the pit lane (also 2011?)? Wasn’t that against team orders as well? Yet none of the boo boys took an issue of that.

Is there a (PR) remedy for back trackers because that seems to be Vettel’s main problem? Best thing is to be yourself.

11

THe problem is that he apologised immediately afterwards and then less than 2 weeks later said that he would do the same again. i.e. hypocrisy

12

It is patently absurd to expect Vettel, a most likeable, cheerful chap and Schumi’s true heir to be “popular” with … hooligans pretending to pass as “fans” but who have absolutely nothing in common with Grand Prix Motor Racing!! A mob is a mob and you Bernie and you Jean should make sure they simply and most unceremoniously get kicked out of every GP they attempt to disrupt with their uncivilised behaviour. Those who take such outrageous nonsense lightly are kindly referred to Hans-Hermann Hoppe for a rude awakening.

13

Ok, accepting your premise for the moment, I don’t see either of us changing our minds.

Vettel fans and, importantly, RBR believe Mark chopped Seb at Brazil (Autosport magazine June 6th page 19). We also believe Mark broke team orders in the past, and said so himself in his own BBC column, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/14145893 . Vettel detractors deny both beliefs, saying Mark was hard, but fair in Brazil (imo irrelevant, he was still racing his teammate hard in a race that ment nothing to him, while possibly costing his TEAM a WDC). They also say that straight talking Mark Webber lied about Silverstone and only showed that he could overtake (also irrelevant to an extent, imo, as he was ordered to maintain the gap. He clearly did not.)

Horner also said after Sepang that both drivers ignored Multi 12 and Multi 21 orders ‘in the last three races’, insinuating Mark was asked not to challenge Seb in Brazil, thus another team request he ignored. According to Ted Kravitz, when Vettel went to the factory to apologise, the majority of the team backed him. James replies to a comment in this blog post that in an interview with Adrian Newey, he found that the Brazil incident rankled more than he(James) had realised.

I believe these incidents justified, in Sebs own mind, braking team orders not to attack Mark in Sepang.

I do agree that Seb handled it badly afterwards. (I would have loved that when Mark said ‘Multi 21, Seb’ he would have replied ‘Brazil first corner, Mark’.)

So that’s my take on Sepang. As I said, you don’t seem to be open to these arguments.

HOWEVER, most justifications of the booing go beyond Sepang, to include things like team favouritism, arrogance, disrespect for competitors and over the top celebrations. Those can imo be roughly equalised to things done by Alonso and Hamilton themselves or by their teams (Sepang also, imo). This is where Vettel is clearly being held to a higher moral standard than the other two by fans of said two (Strangely, in my experience, internet arguments tend to brake down to Lewis and Fernando fans versus Seb and Kimi fans, obviously not in all cases). Incidentally, a completely natural reaction, we all cut our favourites much more slack for wrongdoing.

14

Oops, this was ment for Kenneth.

15

I think this is getting closer to the point. I do, however, think you can re-observe the first part of this posts events recount differently. One could argue being too timid in race starts can be just as dangerous as being too agressive, and you only have a fairly small window of observation in that hectic moment. I also think that all is lost when any driver actively decides to only be a number 2/supporting driver. You don’t know the outcome of the race until some way into it, and being too tacit can mean a missed opportunity. Being supportive at latter stages for the team in the right circumstances is a different story. Not sure either Mark or Seb are without sin on this front…

“I do agree that Seb handled it badly afterwards. (I would have loved that when Mark said ‘Multi 21, Seb’ he would have replied ‘Brazil first corner, Mark’.)” –

Again, maybe not Brazil, as stated above. Too many ifs and buts to confirm this as corollary. And Silverstone was not completed unsafely (and ultimately not completed, as Mark couldn’t pull off the move safely – but he did pressure Seb into making a mistake to give up the position – it’s just that Seb didn’t make enough of a mistake to give up the position. Many people differ on whether this approach by Mark is acceptible or not). But something along those lines, citing a more similar situation, would have been more genuine and fair. It was almost like Seb was trying to say the things that would make the media report him as not really a bad guy, rather than portray the ruthless nature of any F1 driver, he and Mark included. Seb needs to own his ruthlessness along with his own persona and be to some public degree honest and integral, and not have public perception management. Or his ‘protection’. Again, with our somewhat short, selective memories, this can quite easily be reversed, but it needs to start with a solid period of Seb’s unprotected self, and with it his unmanaged highs and lows, goods and bads.

16

I agree the events in Brazil is open to interpretation, but the point is that the team, and probably Seb, believe Mark was in the wrong. So his actions would’ve been affected by that assumption.

Just to add, but how great would it have been if Rocky or Horner had said something like ‘I know you are still angry about Brazil, but…’? The Internet would have broken down.

17

Yeah, if there was time for some media coaching before the podium interview and press conference, I would have told him to say something like, ‘While following Mark, I became very angry about past events, particularly when in my view Mark put his own interests in front of those of the team and myself. I then made the mistake of acting on my anger. This was a selfish act that was against the wishes of the team, and for that, I sincerely apologise.’ Only with superior PR speak.

That would take responsibility for braking team orders, as well as making it clear that he feels justified. I think this is more like what he was trying to say in China (apologising to the team, while saying he would do it again), but he didn’t want to admit that it was basically revenge.

18

@ alberto dietz, just a brief question re vettel, how do you respond to someone who by most standards has acted dishonestly and taken an unfair advantage by cheating in order to win a race who then stands on a dais and expects accolades for his latest win?

are you silent? how do you communicate your outrage? just interested to hear your opinion…..

19

Sorry, I accidentally replied to this post just below, starting with ‘Ok, accepting you premise…’

20

My point with Hungary 2007 is, that the things that is being held against Vettel is not that much different from the things that Hamilton and Alonso have done.

The cucumber incident is broadly similar to ‘monkeys at the back’ and shaking your fist at Petrov in Abu Dhabi 2010. Hamilton broke an intra team agreement (for witch Ron Dennis never punished him, btw), Alonso blocked Hamilton in the pits, plus other alleged shenanigans with Dennis after quali. Why is the finger celebration worse than lying to the stewards? Alonso was also on the radio in Germany 2010, trying to get Massa out of the way.

My point is that Vettel is being held to a higher moral standard than Hamilton and Alonso by their fans.

21

sorry, but you are not on the same page. what went before is irrelevant in the the case of sepang.

i will say it again as obviously you don’t quite comprehend. different teams, different actions,different people, different strategies, in fact they bear no relevance whatsoever. deal with the sepang facts as they occurred.

22

And again, as you don’t want to answer me, why is Multi21 SO MUCH worse than Hungary 2007?

23

entirely different race, different team and different conditions. stick with the facts of sepang as that is what we are discussing. if you want to debate that other issue then fine by me but i have no interest. it is totally irrelevant.

24

No rules were broken as JCA has accurately pointed out.

In addition, your “most” standards = anything goes = moral relativism, like in “a state of permanent adolescence”, i.e. FAD (fad indeed) and his zombies.

25

so,alberto dietz, correct me if i am wrong but, the INTRA team agreement between webber.vettel and horner was set and agreed upon by all parties and vettel chose to take an ‘unfair sporting advantage’ in order to win. so this is not cheating by your standards?

i very much doubt whether you actually understand the issue as your last post simply doesn’t make any sense. might i suggest that you read my comments again and then answer, a simple yes or no, whether or not vettels actions fall within the defininition of ‘cheating’ as defined.

26

I would define cheating as braking rules, however badly people think Vettel behaved, he broke no written rules. I still don’t see how Multi 21 is that much worse than what both Hamilton and Alonso did at Hungary 2007. I also don’t understand why people think Webber is a total Innocent in this relationship, even if he didn’t start it.

27

cheating, in my dictionary is defined as taking an ‘unfair sporting advantage’. when webber was leading the race in sepang, on merit, vettel chose to dishonour his agreement [multi 21] and passed him whilst webber was on reduced revs.

if that is not cheating then i don’t know what is. think again.

28

Just interviewed Murray Walker for BBC Radio 5 Live and he said it makes his “blood boil” to hear people to booing Vettel, whom he brackets with Senna and Schumacher for many reasons. Listen out for the interview on Japanese GP Sunday on 5 Live (also available online)

29

Did it make his blood boil when the tifosi cheered and celebrated Senna’s retirement from the 1989 Italian Grand Prix? That was worse, because to that point Senna had committed no crime..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j33x_vd7nGA

30

an insightful and interesting post there gadfly. a few issues but they can be discarded in the totality of the subject.

in relation to the future, redbull, if they are so inclined, would be better to issue some clarifying statement vis-a-vis the reality of what actually happened at sepang. yes. it would smack of too little too late but as i believe it was the icing on the cake after the turkey/silverstone/brazil fracas, it may go some way to taking some of the heat out of the issue.

there are still too many unanswered questions and until they are resolved i fear that the booing will continue unabated. i certainly hope so as it appears that it is the only way that redbull may simply pause a while and reflect on their deceptive practices in regards to the incidents preciously highlighted.sepang would be a good starting point.

i have requested that james give us some feed back on some of these questions but i seriously doubt that he will owing to the fact that should they,the answers, receive any notoriety then redbull might just declare him ‘non persona gratia’. understandable but frustrating.

31

WOW, took an age to read through these comments! Vettel is an incredibly polarising figure, that’s for sure…

My main concern about the booing is where does it lead? What do the boo-ers (is that even a word?) hope to achieve? Why are they booing and how can their concerns be addressed? (And indeed SHOULD they be addressed?)

The easy answer as to WHY they are booing, of course, is that they are expressing their ‘moral outrage’ at Vettel and consider him an unworthy champion and representative of F1 (much as crowds at Big Brother evictions, for example, enjoy voicing their moral distaste for certain characters who have failed to meet their notion of appropriate behaviour/moral substance). Condemnation of Vettel’s image, mannerisms and perceived arrogance are an extension of this category.

Second, there is an element of irritation at the current state of F1, in particular RBR/Vettel’s dominance, which clearly, in addition, many believe to be undeserved.

Numerous posters have cited widely varying examples in support of booing, which largely fall into both categories.

Clearly these podium interviews will continue to offer ‘fans’ an opportunity to voice their displeasure – but again, to what end? And HOW will it end? Because ultimately the image of F1 – forget Vettel for a moment – is at stake here. (Strong as that may sound!)

It’s possible, of course, that the booing will simply fade away once this season is over and incidents like Malaysia move into history – more likely too once Webber leaves RBR. And of course 2014 is an unknown: Renault might well produce a dog of an engine and Vettel becomes a backmarker.

But before that point we will have the podium where Vettel is celebrated as the 2013 WDC, which could prove to be an excrutiating moment for the sport if – as looks likely – Vettel is booed rather than cheered. It’s too late and too weak-looking to call off the podium interviews at this stage in the season…

Ultimately, do the boo-ers (subliminally, perhaps) hope to punish Vettel for his multiple sins, by pushing him into some kind of ‘breakdown’ which will affect his performance, or even drive him out of the sport for good? – the thinking being that surely there’s only so long he can humanly tolerate the embarrassment of it all? After all, what’s the point of putting in so much sweaty toil into excelling at a job, only to constantly find that your efforts are unappreciated, even reviled? Contrary to the opinions of many, I very much doubt the man is simply a driving automaton, devoid of any emotions. But equally, – and to the disappointment of many, no doubt – he’s unlikely to walk away from the sport he loves.

Some posters suggest he offers a grovelling, self-flagellating apology to Webber and the fans for Multi 21. (Though no doubt if he was to do such a thing – very unlikely of course – there would be complaints that he was too phoney, or too late, or too pathetic).

Others suggest he stops celebrating his wins and curbs his ‘aggressive’ body language – even though, his trademark ‘finger’ is something he has done throughout his entire racing career. Respectful, humble silence or beseeching gratitude to Newey and the team for engineering his win seem to be the only permissible forms of celebration some boo boys and those who support them would approve of.

OR should he simply stop winning? That might silence his critics (odd as that may seem in a competitive sport where winning is everything). He could simply park his car at the back of the grid, ignoring the best efforts of a team devoted to achieving technical excellence, and trundle around the track in a nonchalant manner, hoping that such a lacksadaisical performance will deflect the boo boys. Of course this might happen as a natural consequence of 2014’s rule changes and I strongly suspect it is what the likes of BE and the FIA are hoping for. And if it doesn’t, the FIA could simply cave to the boo boys and ensure that RBR are hampered as much as possible in 2014 and beyond, enforcing a ‘level’ playing-field in a non-spec sport purporting to be the pinnacle of motor-racing excellence.

Vettel’s own character – off-track – has also been discussed. Ted Kravitz suggested he becomes more open, shows his more likeable side to the fans, although how Vettel can do this is a toughie. Neat little TV packages and PR stunts aren’t going to cut it. In today’s celeb-obsessed world he needs a human ‘story’ for fans/viewers to engage in – he needs melodrama and emotion… He needs to show us more of his private life so that we can connect with him… etc, etc. I suspect Vettel would rather shoot himself in the head than allow any tawdry intrusion into his jealously-guarded private life and feelings… but there you have it; that’s what PR and media consultants will be saying, rest assured. He’s clearly a very private young man who prefers to keep his personal and professional lives separate, and eschews managers and agents, so he is a genuine PR nightmare.

As for RBR and how they have created this PR-resistant ‘monster’ – perhaps there are some hard questions to be asked internally? Certainly they haven’t managed their drivers particularly well, preferring to let their cars do the talking and let the personal issues slide. Webber has clearly suffered at RBR – although it is debatable how much is RBR or even Vettel’s fault and how much can be attributed to an older driver’s jealousy of the young buck – feeling his best days are over… who knows? None of us are privy to what really goes on and have to rely on the media to guide our pereptions.

All in all, this is a tricky time for F1. Having such an unpopular champion – for whatever reason – is a PR nightmare in the making. It’s almost impossible – bar the passing of time – to see how this is handled.

32

i think vettel has had a lot of help from his friend ecclestone and it’s backfiring.

a great french scientist called le chatelier said any change in a system at equilibrium results in a shift of the equilibrium in the direction which minimises the change.

the booing is nature’s way of opposing this artificial creation of a superstar.

it is very hard to fool nature.

33

44% of visitors on this site thinking booing is OK. So sad.

My experience: I’ve been to the Hungarian GP 5 times over the last 6 years, and most of the Ferrari fans in the grandstands for HU locals have displayed the most pathetic behaviour: cheering for non-Ferrari drivers’ mechanical issues, booing,cursing drivers etc etc. Overall a disgusting mob, spoiling the experience.

I would prefer if all the fans would support their favorite driver/team in a positive fashion without insulting the rest of the field and the other fans.

34

Saw this comment on PF1, Thought i might put it up here.

” If you study Vettels onboard camera and compare it to Alonsos you can see that the Redbull car has much less wheelspin then the ferraris, and also others cars, I suggest that the Redbull must have some kind of aid. It looks too stable to be true. This situation makes me think of the -94 season when Benetton was dominating and Senna suspected they had traction control. “Traction control as a specific component is banned but its function is now duplicated by all, with different degrees of success, via engine maps that manipulate torque curves and use partial firing of cylinders to achieve the a similar result. Mapping is one of the black arts of modern racing and one essentially impossible to police. Even with the insane tech of today’s F1 the old maxims still apply: ” if you ‘ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” and ” it’s only cheating if you get caught”.” From what I see on television it doesn’t look right. Redbull’s time advantage is to big to be natural”

(All credit to Vladimir Carrasco , 2013)

35

The problem with the traction control theory, is that any such system has to go through the ECU, a control part, so a secret traction control is impossible. The engine mapping thing was completely legal until Germany last year, after which it was limited to the existing maps, so there would still be some effect. The Red Bull has more traction because it is more aerodynamically stable, with more downforce.

36

james, i know that there has been volumes written on the events in sepang but i do have a couple of queries and it seems to be an appropriate time to air them owing to the ‘booing’ episodes.

you quote horner as saying that in regards to sepang, ‘that were circumstances involved in that’. just what were those circumstances? the media haven’t followed up on that otherwise we would have read it. if he means the ‘brazil’ beat up then he is being deceitful. correct me if i am wrong but according to everything i have read and discussed, the ‘multi 21’ agreement was made between horner/webber and vettel, pre race. how can they sit down and formulate a deal knowing that if webber comes out in front at the final pitstop it is his race then proceed to dishonour it?

i know that you are most likely fed up to the teeth with this issue but it will not just go away.just look at the response your post has received! the booing will continue i should think. i certainly hope so. already horner is on the defensive and the media should be hounding him for answers instead of blithley urinating in his pocket to maintain relations.

37

Just come back from watching Rush. I know its a film and sensationalised but you cant help get the feeling that racing drivers back then were more honorable. Villeneuve has mentioned this in an interview.

I think Vettels win at all cost attitude, the way the team has handled him, giving the world the perception of favoritism. Turkey, Silverstone etc, this has meant Vettel has not got the respect from the Fans. The feel he has been given what he has achieved, that he hasnt earned it, through blood, sweat and tears. That im sure is incorrect but that is the percetion.

Ask any kid on the street, if you could be any racing driver who would it be? Bet you they wouldnt say Vettel. I even think in Germany they would choose Schumacher over Vettel!

38

Ironically, most reports on this say that Seb usually stays with the team at the track and works with them at race weekends, many times leaving with the mechanics when curfew starts. Some mock him as too earnest for going to the Pirelli factory when they got the contract at the end of 2010, as he was the only one. He does almost no personal endorsements, afaik, only Infiniti. He spends his time getting ready for racing, both personally and with the team. So he works as hard as any f1 driver does, harder than most.

It is one thing to suggest that he isn’t talented enough to be winning like this (I would strongly disagree), but quite another to say he doesn’t deserve it because of lack of work, as in just walks into a rocket ship, or hasn’t put in the hard yards.

39

Interesting parallel…

I wonder if we would have seen booing in the early 00’s, if podium interviews were the norm back then.

At the time, many complained that Ferrari was winning because of the amount of money they kept pumping in the sport, having their own test track next to the factory, etc. Now we needn’t worry about any of that, what with no testing and [sarcasm]the incredibly effective RRA in place[/sarcasm]…

The problem when comparing this era to the 70s, in addition to the danger that is long gone, is that the drivers simply aren’t that relevant any more. Raw talent still counts, because without any testing, new drivers need to impress instantly, but beyond that, drivers are now seen as little more than systems’ managers. Nobody simply wrestles a car into corners now, and wheelspin in the exits is useful only to tell us that the tyres are almost gone.

Even overtaking manoeuvres are explained away as an effect of tyre condition, KERS, DRS and what have you. Irvine recently made the point that while races in the late 90s and early 00s featured little in the way of overtaking, when a pass DID happen, it was instantly memorable. Hakkinen’s pass on Schumacher after the climb through Eau Rouge was breathtaking then (even to this unapologetic Schu fan), but it so happens that we have a DRS zone in the same spot at Spa now, so this year we saw so many overtakes there that if you were to show Hakkinen’s pass to a newer F1 fan, he will definitely be underwhelmed.

And that’s just 10 years before today… so going all the way back to Hunt and Lauda, trying to make comparisons is simply pointless. It shouldn’t be, but here we are. JA has often argued about teams and team bosses thinking very short term. I don’t think this observation has ever been more true than now.

40

most of you say that booing is the effect of RBR and SV dominance, because they destroy the sport, etc. Ok. then, let’s boo Ferrari and Merc and McLaren and Lotus for having worse cars, so the drivers cannot be competitive enough to match RBR. Why not boo Merc for poor strategies for Lewis? Why not boo Lewis for not being competitive enough? Why not boo Alonso for being a poor qualifier? Why not boo Ferrari for not having a competitive car?

Moreover, booing is unsporting. It’s a pity to see so many JA community members voting in favour of booing. I rarely comment here, but I read all articles James publishes and most comments and I always thought this community is the best.

As for the boo-bus, I’m happy that VET seems not to care about it. I guess he is showing his finger to the boo gang… the middle one.

41

sorry jane-kay, but who determined that booing was unsporting? if spectators wish to show their appreciation for whatever then they clap/whistle/cheer. if they want to show their displeasure what can they do? just cop it sweet and remain silent? what did that ever do?

sometimes, just sometimes, people see through the chimera of the vettel ‘nice guy’ promotion. he, and horner, proved conclusively at sepang that they are deceitful/dishonest and totally out of touch.

i say keep the booing going. maybe they, vettel/horner/marko will finally accept that their actions were dishonourable and apologise, to webber and the F1 supporters who sustain the F1 food chain.

42

You’ll notice there has been no reports of Vettel being heckled at a autograph signing, or other fan event, no verbal confrontations in the paddock, or on the street. In other words, no one has made their opinion known to him personally, you know, looking him in the eye like an adult, taking responsibility for it. Even if most can’t afford to attend such events, none of their brave brethren have represented them.

Only when they are surrounded buy a couple of thousand of their friends and from a couple of hundred meters away, do these brave men and woman express their negative opinion of him. They are also quite brave in front of their computer screens and in their living rooms.

If you want to impress me, go to a sighing event and hand him the signed card back and say you don’t want it, as you don’t respect him, in a respectful manner please.

43

For me this constant booing is unsporting. I understand the booing after Malaysia and maybe in Monza (although last year Lewis was not booed for his win). I belive silence could sent the message as well. Booing is for 5-year olds. I guess it has been somehow decided that Vettel would be the “blame everything on him” person, as it is so easy. Whatever he does, it never seems to be good or appreaciated. How can you claim he is not a nice guy? Do you know him personally? I believe that when a racer gets into a car his mind is set only on racing and winning and not being nice, he doesn’t care if he is polite and uses proper language.

And finally, I thinks that even is RBR apologised as you suggest, to Webber and absolutely everybody, you’ll still be saying that it was not honest, etc.

44

Aren’t we all missing the point?

Let’s see:

Red Bull sells drinks and therefore joined F1 (and many, many other sporting disciplines) to promote their business. Obviously, doing well on track must reflect well on their product (even if there is really no logical reason why it would)…

So nevermind what the on-track spectators do: how does the current “F1-is-as-boring-as-watching-paint-dry” situation reflect to their overall sales, at the moment?

45

I think this is a key point. Most other interests RB have poured money into seemed to have had positive responses/coverage and generated continuing sales. Thus continuing investments. Integrity gets measured in there somewhere as well, but with a visible connection with the performance and ‘extremeness’. RB Business/Marketing 101. There’s at bare minimum an undercurrent of negativity from their F1 investment now, regardless of how much is considered actual or percieved. That translates to impact on sale and future investments. But it’s also something that needn’t be persistent. 2014 could be a PR turnaround year, and us fans will have either short or unreliable memories of the situations that went on before and almost reluctanly forgive them if we see functional correction. It’s just that so far as SV has supposedly matured and improved, his ‘protectionism’ hasn’t retracted and allowed him to be his own man, and the strengths and more importantly weaknesses of all the team are being somewhat aired unnecessarily. I’m not sure that sits as being a coherent on-message advertisement.

46

I agree. I have often thought of how their corporate spin over the past ~5 years has resulted in an image totally at odds with their wider PR strategy of emphasising the underdog. Gen Y see straight through “spin” and Red Bull are at risk of alienating their core market and threatening the massive investment they have made into F1. There are plenty of brands such as Monster and Coke’s Burn that are happy to steal their customer base once it works out Red Bull is now just another large corporate pretender.

At the heart of this is Vettel’s actions. The carefully cultivated PR image of him has been painfully stripped back over the past 18 months. I assume the appointment of Daniel is aimed at halting this image slide. I suspect in a few years we’ll see marketing case studies of the rise and fall of Red Bull.

47

So the pantomime extends to the point where evil Vettel is now so damaging Red Bulls image in F1 that it could jeopardize the whole companys image. Btw, what has he done over the past 18 months that is so bad other than Multi21? The ‘crash kid’ stuff is three years old now, as is the front wing incident and no serious person really believes they are sabotaging Webber. Or is it just the celebrations? If he was damaging their image so much, why have they extended his contact this year instead of going after Kimi or Fernando and cutting Seb loose?

48

Sometimes I forget why I hated marketing at University… thank you for reminding me!

Anyway, all the focus on Vettel’s unpopularity in the races takes us away from the teams’ Resource Disagreement, so really it’s not such a bad thing for RBR, in the end.

49

It’s not up to the F1 circus to tell fans how to behave. The way they behave is a reflection of the behaviour they see from the drivers themselves. There is a portion of the fan base who don’t like what they see in Vettel. It’s a bit rich for Vettel and Horner to say it’s unsporting. Sportmanship comes in many forms. Vettel has chosen his version and the public have every right to express their opinion on that approach.

In other words. You make your bed, you lie in it.

50

As a general rule, a sporting event provider does not get to tell its customers how they should behave, as long as they are not overtly disrupting the event. Fans at other types of sporting events boo competitors all the time. F1 has no divine right to be any different. The demands that fans stop booing merely sound like the prattlings of people suffering from thin-skinned pomposity.

51

Booing at sporting events usually occurs in-play, not during an official awards ceremony.

The Vettel/RBR-hating fans have every opportunity to boo as much as they like during the race – and no doubt they do! But the podium ceremony has historically been a time to ‘respect’ the winner and runners-up. It involves national anthems and trophies presented by dignitaries representing the GP hosts – something that would be could be considered a great honour.

Disliking boos during the ceremony and speeches is not “thin-skinned pomposity.” Nor is it blind Vettel-worship…far from it. It is about respecting the traditions of the sport.

There is also something cowardly and insidious in deliberately drowning out Vettel when he speaks at these occasions, not to mention how this affects the interviewer… My heart went out to John Surtees at Monza. He seemed bemused and distressed at the booing. Equally my respect for Vettel jumped ten-fold on that occasion, as he handled the situation with dignity and maturity.

In fact Vettel’s handling of the boos being targeted at him during these ceremonies has, so far, been impeccable throughout; a far cry from the ‘spoilt brat’ behaviour his critics commonly accuse him of.

52

well said, if you sleep with dogs you get fleas.

53

Any person that would spend time rooting against someone rather than rooting FOR someone is a v shallow individual.

54

‘i decided that webber didn’t deserve to win’ despite a pre race mutual agreement between webber, horner and vettel….and that is not arrogant?

55

The “elephant in the room” is that F1 has become much less interesting to watch during this period of Vettel and Red Bull dominance, whether you are a Vettel fan or not.

Smart promoters and ad men know what I said in the paragraph above is true and you can believe there have been discussions about this at high levels, because disinterested fans ultimately mean a loss of advertising revenue and we are talking about real money here, not just a few hundred thousand dollars/pounds/Euros.

I’ve nearly quit watching F1 as a result of the similarity of

this Vettel era to the Schumacher era before. I am repulsed by the predictability of the outcome of races now, and frankly some of Vettel’s unsportsmanlike behavior also offends me. However I do not approve of booing in any sporting event. The method I use to express my personal disapproval is that I simply spend my time doing something other than watching a race.

I think I can speak for nearly all F1 fans when I say I would much prefer a tight race for the title, perhaps among not just two different drivers but three or four. Some real suspense about which driver will gain the points lead or win a race and some real suspense about who might ultimately win the WDC is what I am interested in experiencing. I would like to see the option for small but meaningful rule changes when such crushing dominance renders the racing as predictable as it has been during the last three years. This could happen via multiple tire manufacturers, restrictions on aero updates, weight penalties, refueling, or other means, but if something doesn’t happen soon F1 has lost me as a fan, and I have

been a fan since the days of the six-wheel Tyrells so I am no latecomer to F1.

56

Booing Vettel is TOTALLY OK. Fans are right! Formula Vettel is boring and Singapora race was the most boringest of them all!

Just give Vettel some arbitrary bans/penalties just like every other driver who’s been dominant against Ferrari (well, mostly shcuhmachrer), and make Formula Eccelstone more intaresting again!

Tracks that make boring races (like singerpori) and AWESOMEST CAR OF THEM ALL winning all the time = it’s no wonder poople are booing Wettel.

He Duly Deserves it! Donner Wettel!

57

Do they actually pronounce his name Wettel in Germany?

58

I had a laugh during a recent Top Gear episode when Clarkson talked about some or other cars suspension being fettled with, then later in the episode he was taking about Sebastian Vet-TEL again. Its pronounced Fettle.

59

No. Still Vettel!

60

Am I the only one thinking “his finger” is ace? I don’t think it is arrogant at all. It is a bit like Usain Bolt doing his pointing to the sky thing. I love it. He shouldn’t change it.

Here’s a picture of Vettel somehow involved in a wedding proposal. He doesn’t look arrogant to me: https://plus.google.com/109451797729562526512/posts/QoiRdEXeqoy

On a side note. Vettel’s crazy frog imitation is pushing things a bit …

61

I think Vettel’s whooping at the top of voice every time he wins tends to grate a bit also.

His finger is a trademark of his and I agree with you: It’s just what he does and he should keep it, and besides, I don’t think it’s actually actively offending anyone like the whooping or crazy frog sounds.

Apparently he is fairly grounded and easy to get along with off the track, but that’s not the side the fans usually get to see.

62

The booing is just an expression of frustration / disappointment of fans and of course its directed at Vettel as he’s the cause of their angst.

Personally, I don’t advocate ‘booing’ and have voted against it, but I can understand that others have different perspectives and in fact the discussion on this forum is facilitating an exchange of opinions. What’s fascinating is the poll results reflect a 50-50 split.:)

63

i now read that marko believes that the fans who are booing are webber fans. wow, how’s that for intelligent deduction.

i would still like to know who advised vettel to vouschafe his ‘mea culpa’ and state that he ‘decided’ that webber would not be allowed to win in sepang. i would also like to know just how complicit horner really was.

i recently read somewhere that it had been floated that both vettel and horner were trying to box webber in and the plan backfired. the strategy never allowed for webber to actually be faster than vettel therefore webber would not be in any position to challenge. webber, was in front, on merit, and that vettel waited until webber had slowed somewhat to conserve fuel and tyres then took advantage of webbers position to put the pass on knowing that horner would not do anything to stop him apart from some puerile/pathetic comments preserved for the record.

all of this still rankles with me and i do believe that horner/vettel deserve all the rancour being dished out. as i said earlier,. i would not boo, but i uphold the rights of anyone who chooses to do so.

64

Helmut Marko’s comments betray his simplistic bubble thinking. Has it not occurred to him that the people booing Sebastian Vettel are not so much fans of Mark Webber as fans of sporting behaviour? Just because they are hostile to Vettel does not mean that they support Mark Webber. This reads like an attempt by Marko to rationalize away the issue.

65

I’m sure deep down that Vettel and Horner would not care one bit about the booing, but what do they expect?

Vettel’s actions in Malaysia were brazen and demonstrated that he thinks he is bigger than the team. Horner’s handling of the matter (or lack of it) only demonstrated that he condones the behavior, despite stating the contrary.

Perhaps if they conducted themselves in a way champions are expected to, they might not get the boos. But as I said before, they wouldn’t care.

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