As the aim of this piece is likely to be misconstrued by some “fans” – I feel I have to declare that this is NOT an attack on any specific driver or team.
Earlier today, Jenson Button tweeted an apology for a comment he made during an interview with the BBC. He “implied” that the Valencia track was not exciting and that not much happened there, in terms of lack of overtaking etc.
Lee McKenzie to Jenson Button: It’s a long old race here and lots can happen.
Jenson Button: No, not really. We’re in Valencia. Not a lot happens here.
This move had a mixed reception by fans: some applauding his maturity for apologising; others questioned why he felt the need to do so. Most F1 fans remember his team-mate’s “out-burst” last year at the Monaco Grand Prix which was also followed by an apology to Stewards.
The question is: why do certain drivers feel the need to apologise for speaking their mind when there is evidence to support the fact that most fans prefer to hear their honest opinions. Especially as some more outspoken drivers never feel the need to retract their words.
I, like some other F1 fans, expected an official apology from Sebastian Vettel for his comments on Narain Karthikeyan, calling him a cucumber and an idiot. This was a personal attack on a fellow F1 driver and I felt it was unbecoming of a two-time World Champion, regardless of his age. But the apology never came; however Karthikeyan is said to have apologised to Vettel and buried the hatchet.
Perhaps it has to do with the team-culture and expectations from their sponsors. Red Bull is afterall a “high-octane, adrenaline-junkie, fast-paced” product: Breaking Rules and being outspoken fits their brand-image. On the other hand, McLaren prides themselves on perfection and order. Most of their sponsors are manufacturers of high-value products and one would imagine their customers are not in the same demographic as RBR’s. So anything “out of the box” goes against the grain.
F1 is about entertaining fans and making drivers more accessible to them, and most would like to engage with “uncensored” versions of the drivers.