Welcome at RN365

You are logged in. Benefit directly from all the benefits of your account:

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits

Welcome at RN365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
fri 26 mar - sun 28 mar
  • 1 HAM LAP 56
  • 2 VER + 0.745
  • 3 BOT + 37.383
ita
fri 16 apr - sun 18 apr
  • 1 VER LAP 63
  • 2 HAM + 22.000
  • 3 NOR + 23.702
bhr
por
fri 30 apr - sun 02 may
  • 1 HAM LAP 66
  • 2 VER + 29.148
  • 3 BOT + 33.530
ita
esp
fri 07 may - sun 09 may
  • 1 HAM LAP 66
  • 2 VER + 15.841
  • 3 BOT + 26.610
por
mco
thu 20 may - sun 23 may
  • 1 VER LAP 78
  • 2 SAI + 8.968
  • 3 NOR + 19.427
esp
aze
fri 04 jun - sun 06 jun
  • 1 PER LAP 51
  • 2 VET + 1.385
  • 3 GAS + 2.762
mco
fra
fri 18 jun - sun 20 jun
  • 1 VER LAP 53
  • 2 HAM + 2.904
  • 3 PER + 8.811
aze
aut
fri 25 jun - sun 27 jun
  • 1 VER LAP 71
  • 2 HAM + 35.743
  • 3 BOT + 46.907
fra
aut
fri 02 jul - sun 04 jul
  • 1 VER LAP 71
  • 2 BOT + 17.973
  • 3 NOR + 20.019
aut
gbr
fri 16 jul - sun 18 jul
  • 1 HAM LAP 52
  • 2 LEC + 3.871
  • 3 BOT + 11.125
aut
hun
fri 30 jul - sun 01 aug
  • 1 OCO LAP 70
  • 2 HAM + 2.736
  • 3 SAI + 15.018
gbr
bel
fri 27 aug - sun 29 aug
  • 1 VER LAP 1
  • 2 RUS
  • 3 HAM
hun
nld
fri 03 sep - sun 05 sep
  • 1 VER LAP 72
  • 2 HAM + 20.932
  • 3 BOT + 56.460
bel
ita
fri 10 sep - sun 12 sep
  • 1 RIC LAP 53
  • 2 NOR + 1.747
  • 3 BOT + 4.921
nld
rus
fri 24 sep - sun 26 sep
Quali sat 25 sep
Race sun 26 sep
ita
tur
fri 08 oct - sun 10 oct
Quali sat 09 oct
Race sun 10 oct
rus
usa
fri 22 oct - sun 24 oct
Quali sat 23 oct
Race sun 24 oct
tur
mex
fri 05 nov - sun 07 nov
Quali sat 06 nov
Race sun 07 nov
usa
bra
fri 12 nov - sun 14 nov
Quali sat 13 nov
Race sun 14 nov
mex
Fallback flag
fri 19 nov - sun 21 nov
Quali sat 20 nov
Race sun 21 nov
bra
sau
fri 03 dec - sun 05 dec
Quali sat 04 dec
Race sun 05 dec
Fallback flag
are
fri 10 dec - sun 12 dec
Quali sat 11 dec
Race sun 12 dec
sau
Start Russian GP
Days
Hour
Min.
Sec.
Max Verstappen

Has booing in F1 become more problematic?

Max Verstappen has stated that it's not his place to ask fans to stop booing Lewis Hamilton, with the jeering becoming commonplace since their clash at the British Grand Prix. This is not the first time that Formula 1 has been affected by booing – but does something need to be done on this occasion?

Analysis
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Booing has made a return to Formula 1. Ever since that controversial first-lap incident at the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton has been on the receiving end of jeers from some members of the crowd, with the majority of them seemingly supporters of Max Verstappen. The intense title battle between these two might be a new occurrence, both for them and their fanbases, but booing has happened before in F1.

In fact, it most recently made an appearance in another fight involving Hamilton, though was not directed at the seven-time World Champion. Hamilton's former teammate and rival, Nico Rosberg, was jeered by fans in 2014 after clashes between the Mercedes drivers. Meanwhile, booing was also heard in 2013 for Sebastian Vettel, who had similarly been involved in an intrateam battle with his Red Bull stablemate Mark Webber.

At the time, Vettel questioned whether the negative reception was symptomatic of fans becoming tired of his dominance, given that the 2013 season marked the fourth consecutive year that he had clinched the World Championship. However, incidents such as the infamous 'Multi 21' affair had perhaps contributed to Vettel receiving this response from some members of the crowd.

So why does booing happen? Well, these examples illustrate a common theme. It seems that we love a 'hero vs villain' narrative – one driver or team for a time is seen almost as the 'villain', by some fanbases at least. Meanwhile, the other is the 'hero' who has probably in the eyes of some been seen to experience an injustice. Incidents like 'Multi 21' illustrate this well; Vettel had arguably taken a victory away from Webber in an unfair manner by ignoring the team's order to maintain position, contributing to this sense of someone – Webber – being wronged.

As the popularity of Netflix's dramatic 'Drive To Survive' documentary suggests, fans relish a story, and this narrative fits the bill (though whether stories are reflected entirely accurately in 'Drive To Survive' is another debate). This is especially true when the 'hero' figure is particularly popular with a large fanbase. Any fans of MotoGP will have witnessed this; given Valentino Rossi's iconic status and massive following, Marc Marquez quickly learned from the crowd's reaction after some run-ins with 'The Doctor' that he had been made the 'villain'.

The 'good vs bad' narrative has been a frequent occurrence in entertainment, such as in reality television. However, our thirst for such potential cruelty in formats like this has died down in recent times, in fitting with the knowledge of how such treatment can affect the mental health of those involved.

Meanwhile, in the world of sport, the discussion surrounding mental health seems to be slightly behind; the fact that tennis player Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the French Open earlier this year due to struggles with her mental health caused such discussion shows that it is still rare for these issues to be talked about so openly by athletes. Perhaps this shows that a certain lack of understanding still exists, and maybe that's why the 'hero and villain' narrative still thrives in sport.

Booing does eventually go away. Battles come and go, and public perceptions change. It is hard to imagine Vettel – such a likeable character – ever being jeered by the crowd these days; in fact, it was probably his popularity that contributed to a backlash from some fans over his disqualification at the Hungarian Grand Prix. But does the harm that it might cause disappear so quickly?

Vettel admitted at the end of the 2013 season that the booing from fans had hurt him. The German said at the time: "It's very difficult for me personally, to receive boos, even though you haven't done anything wrong. At the time it hurts not to get the reception you expect but I think I'm clever enough to understand why they do it. I'm not blaming them."

Rosberg has also spoken about the difficulties of receiving a negative reception from the crowd. "There were the two camps, the Nico camp and the Hamilton fans," the 2016 World Champion recently told The Times Magazine. "And all the Hamilton fans were against me, of course.

"[Once], there were these four-year-old girls right in front of me with their dads, and they were booing me and giving me the thumbs down. Their dads told them I was bad and that they needed to boo me."

Hamilton, for the time being at least, has taken a different approach. After first receiving boos over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, the Mercedes driver said that it was actually motivating him, so on the surface it does not appear to be hurting him. Only he will know if it actually does.

Meanwhile, Verstappen has said that it is not up to him to stop the fans from booing Hamilton. "Well, I look at it like this. When you go to a football match, you come into a home ground, the opposition will be booed at some point," the Red Bull driver told select media, including RacingNews365.com, ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix.

"It's not up to the local club to go on to the speakers and say, 'Guys, you cannot boo', because it will naturally happen. They're very passionate and they support their local team.

"I don't think it's up to me to then say, 'Guys, you cannot boo', because I am not them. And I have to just focus on what I'm doing on the track. And I'm pretty sure that most of them are here for just a great weekend, to see cars racing. Of course, some of them will boo, but I cannot decide for them.

"I can, of course, say you can't do this, but do you really think they're gonna listen to me? So I just hope that they will have a good weekend."

So both Verstappen and Hamilton appear unaffected by the situation. Others have criticised it; Hamilton's boss Toto Wolff, for example, has voiced his opinion that jeering does not belong in F1. And what perhaps makes this occurrence of booing more problematic than in the past is that, as well as this happening, Hamilton received racist abuse online in the wake of his Silverstone clash with Verstappen.

This kind of abuse – which has been seen in other sports this year, too, such as the targeting of several football players from the England squad following the Euro 2020 final – is inexcusable and has been condemned by everyone in Formula 1. Whilst there is not a direct link with the booing – and no evidence to suggest that they are being committed by the same people – there will be some who feel that the jeers carry an uncomfortable air in the wake of such abuse. The message on social media to 'be kind' is clear yet still seems to be getting lost in reality. It's obvious that online abuse is not acceptable, but booing appears to be taken more lightly.

So is booing acceptable? An interesting point to consider here is whether it could potentially make a point on the correct occasion, meaning that rather than targeting a person who probably doesn't deserve it, maybe it serves a purpose in highlighting mistakes made by the sport itself. The recent Belgian Grand Prix, for example; booing from fans would have been understandable in getting across the frustration over how the situation was handled.

But to jeer an individual arguably feels outdated in many respects. The world has moved on in our understanding of mental health, even since Rosberg was affected by booing just a few years ago.

Whether the booing remains will perhaps depend on what else happens in the intense 2021 World Championship battle. Of course, we are all enjoying this level of competition, but maybe we need to think more about where to draw the line with crowd reaction. What is the solution, though? It can be condemned, but ultimately – as Verstappen perhaps alluded to in his comments – the onus is on the fans.

If history repeats itself, it will die out. But with the Verstappen vs Hamilton fight likely to continue for longer than those that occurred between Webber and Vettel, and Rosberg and Hamilton – with each of these rivalries ending thanks to the former’s retirement – it could take a lot longer for this round of booing to be put to bed.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Dutch Grand Prix

The latest news about the Dutch Grand Prix straight from Zandvoort.

1 comment

    x
    Breaking Are current F1 drivers taking more risks than in previous eras?