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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Is swearing the acceptable face of F1

While Abu Dhabi gave us spectacle, crashes, the safety car, and a notable result it also gave us a very public use of obscenity, from both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, on the podium in the middle of the new press conference format after the presentation of the trophies.

Courtesy of Lotus Renault F1 Team
Copyright:Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic
The use of obscenities is the first issue I would like to address.  In European terms the race is broadcast in the afternoon, hours before the broadcasting watershed, and I was massively disappointed by the use of bad language.  While the language itself did not offend me, its use does have the capacity to offend, and the two drivers are influential given their public and media exposure.  At the time of their interviews they were representing Formula 1 and their teams, they were not operating in their private capacity.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind bad language in general, and use it myself in conversation (often liberally when talking about politics, recession, banks, etc.) but I do my very best not to use it in front of children (mine and others), make every attempt not to use it in this blog (I may have failed on one or two occasions), and I try my best to use language which would not offend anyone within earshot when conversing with others in public locations.  In other words I try to be aware of everyone around me who might be listening and tailor/censor my language accordingly.

Neither Sebastian nor Kimi did that when on the podium.  They were in the full glare of the media spotlight, representing the best of Formula 1 and their teams in front of a large live audience as well as millions watching on television and there is not question but that they should have handled a soft interview without resorting to obscenity.  I feel ridiculous praising Fernando Alonso for not swearing, given that swearing very rarely occurs in the sport.

To make matters worse I read that Sebastian Vettel used the same swear word again in the later driver's conference.

I understand that he had just driven a huge race, possibly the most spectacular of his relatively short career, and was probably pumped up on adrenaline, excitement, and delight and this excuses him to some extent, however there is not question but that he should pay for his misdemeanour in order to minimise the chance of any recurrence in the future.  It's a version of the Swear Jar but on a larger scale.

Might I humbly suggest that both he and Kimi should be fined a decent sum which would then be distributed to one of the numerous children's charities who may benefit from their C**k-ups!