#F1 Features: The Vettel ‘boo’ pandemic

I’m going to upset a few people with this post, but guess what… I really don’t care.

The Vettel booing phenomena is lambasted by those in the English speaking F1 media and certain self proclaimed social media fake celebrities as ‘boorish’ behaviour and is condemned from their pejorative castles as ‘unsporting’.

Fans cheer their heroes unreservedly when they believe they deserve the acclaim and worship they offer. Equally fans express their unhappiness when they believe that something is amiss.

I’m sick and tired of the ill considered view that the booing from F1 fans of Vettel is from a group of lager louts, or a clandestine sect who are travelling the world to wreak vengeance on F1’s youngest most successful driver. I’ve said it before, Vettel is probably as humorous and engaging as any F1 driver in the current crop, but this message is not getting through to the fans.

We are lectured by the F1 intelligentsia that all dominant champions are disliked, and variety is what any sport needs in terms of winners. Rubbish, scores of dominant champions across a range of disciplines have been loved and adored by the public. I don’t hear any boos for Usain Bolt when he keeps breaking world records and smashing the fields arrayed against him. Roger Federer is as popular today as when he was sweeping all aside. We could go on.

So let’s please lose the idea this is an anti dominance vocalisation, because given the right circumstances, there are equally if not more dominant world sporting champions than Vettel who are universally praised and adored by the fans of the sport in which they compete.

Now, for those of you who believe there is an anti Vettel agenda happening here, you are wrong. I have repeatedly reported that Vettel is probably one of the most complete and rounded drivers from a social perspective on the F1 circuit. He is very funny, does self deprecation incredibly well and on the stage at the Silverstone village following the British GP he made di Resta look like a monochrome, 2 dimensional caricature.

I see the problem as a Red Bull issue. Since the Schumacher years Ferrari have clearly declared that they have a number one and a number two driver. On the other hand McLaren stubbornly remain of the philosophy that both drivers are equal, and the girl like squeals of Button over the pit to car radio when he has been under attack from Perez suggest this to be true.

It is Red Bull who has failed Vettel and this by a simple lack of PR noise. Mark Webber was within a whisker of being the F1 drivers’ champion in 2010 and as with Massa in 2008, the smallest of margins mitigated against him.

People like to mention that Vettel had beaten Webber in 2009, overlooking the fact Webber had barely been able to stand in winter testing of that year. He was barely fit at the start of the season. Webber was indeed no number 2 to Vettel that season and the team rightly recognised this.

However, since 2010 Newey has continued to exploit the aerodynamics of the car to deliver downforce to the diffuser and this has lead to Vettel’s emerging dominance. The cars Newey has been delivering require a counter intuitive driving style that means when the back end is sliding, you plant the throttle rather than easing off as normal. Vettel has mastered this art more than Webber and as a relatively young driver this transition has been simpler so the car development is focused around Vettel and his ability to exploit Newey’s design.

This has led to the team ‘favouring’ Sebastian in the eyes of the public. The front wing issue in 2010 was clearly misjudged by the team’s management. The part of the story that is never told is, that Webber actually said it didn’t really make the car better for him, something he proved by winning the race with the old design. As a result the anti-Vettel brigade is still frothing at the mouth about it, as they think the team nefariously stole Mark’s wing.

The Australian has certainly made no effort to correct this little detail, which is understandable if not a trifle unfair, although Vettel had already been scratched from his Christmas card list by then. Why the Red Bull management let Vettel be exposed to the subsequent fan barrage of abuse, despite knowing that the fans only knew half the truth is a mystery.

So a combination of poor PR by Red Bull management and Webber willingly playing the poor slighted underdog still comes back to bite Vettel in the backside three years later.

And it would only be one of several oversights and weak decisions by the management, which the German has to take the boos for now. After the collision at the Turkish Grand Prix, which saw Vettel crash into Webber, the team immediately blamed Mark, without waiting to analyse who had really caused it. Webber recalled it being one of the only times in his career he has been booed on the podium. While initially it looked like Vettel had just senselessly piled into Webber, in the end they likely were both at fault.

A year after ‘wing-gate’, at the 2011 British Grand Prix, the weak leadership of Christian Horner was exposed in a very obvious manner. Webber ignored team orders to hold station behind Vettel, commenting after the race: “I’m not fine with it, no. Of course I ignored the team and I was battling to the end.“ Asked if he still felt like a #2 driver: “Not really. I just want to race until the end. Of course I ignored the team because I wanted to try and get a place. Seb was doing his best, I was doing my best. I wasn’t going to crash with anyone.

The management’s reaction to such a public and blatant disregard of the team was non-existent. Horner spat a few angry comments into a few microphones after the race, but other than that Mark got away with not much more than a few angry looks and maybe some team members silently switching their allegiance to the other side of the garage. As irony would have it, many of those who boo Vettel these days hailed Mark for sticking it to the pitwall brigade.

The whole charade repeated at the Brazilian GP in 2012 – the final showdown between Vettel and Fernando Alonso and the TV pictures suggest that the two Toro Rosso drivers did more to help Vettel than Webber did, despite having been asked to do so. More angry comments from Horner and more sitting on his hands rather than dealing with Mark’s unwillingness to cooperate with his thoroughly disliked team mate.

But the really big issue reared its head at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Diving in for the last pitstop, strapping on a fresh set of options Vettel, who had fallen behind Webber due to a mistimed first stop, stomped on the ‘loud pedal’ and made up a four second deficit on Webber in just his out-lap and the first flying lap at the end of which Webber came out of the pits, narrowly managing to stay ahead, but on a set of inherently slower primes.

Soon the team gave the now infamous “Multi21” order, which Vettel subsequently ignored and still gets the flak for these days.

There is no question that Vettel’s actions were wrong, however the real questions have to be asked to the management. Team orders are now allowed. Why didn’t the team radio something like, “Seb, stay behind, nurse the tyres to the end. We’re not sure they’ll make it if you race Mark,” instead of a cryptic code, which didn’t tell him why he was asked to gift away a win.

Ross Brawn told Nico Rosberg why the wanted him to stay behind Lewis, Horner and Rocky did not.

They had let Mark go unpunished twice in the past for ignoring team orders. Why in the wide world of sports did they even expect Vettel to obey them. Especially as they asked him to give away more points than the winning margin of two of his three championships, in the second race of the year, at a time when Ferrari and Lotus were much closer in pace than they are now and to top it off – without any explanation, just a cryptic code.

Rocky, Vettel’s race engineer, had been telling the German protégé throughout the race to wait and he would have his chance to attack Mark at the end. How a management team on the pit wall change their instructions mid race and expect a driver going for the WDC to hold station.

True to himself Horner spat a few angry comments into a few microphones, but other than that… but we already had that. If there is a book called “F1 Team management for dummies”, you’ll probably find a detailed description of the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix in the section “How not to do it, stupid”.

So the boos are mainly a result of a few actions by Vettel himself, like the cringe-worthy handling of the aftermath of Malaysia, but in big part his unfavourable image has been created by mind-bogglingly inept leadership skills and PR prowess straight out of the “Joseph Stalin School of Applied Employee Motivation”.

Another problem is, the team Vettel drives for. If he dominated the scene like he did the last four years in a scarlet overall, he would have been celebrated at Monza, not booed. The Tifosi are the most vocal fans decrying him for a very simple reason. Ferrari has been in F1 for over 60 years – it oozes tradition. Naturally in the eyes of the Tifosi the very idea of someone winning, who is not wearing red is pure blasphemy. Yet there comes a fizzy drinks company from Austria, with no history in the sport, and dominates it.

A similar phenomenon has occurred in Germany with the football team that Red Bull have taken over, RB Leipzig. Not accepted due to being a team with ‘bought’ success, it appears people care more about tradition than just out and out achievement.

Whether Vettel would still be hated if he was named as the number 1 driver is a contentious issue. Webber certainly would not have stuck around with the Milton Keynes team for so long if this had been the case. We may hear some interesting stories coming out after 2nd January, when Webber’s Red Bull contract expires. However, Red Bull are still sponsoring his Porsche drive, so perhaps not.

Webber has been forced to drive a car that has been developed for Sebastian. This would be fine, as long as Red Bull admitted this to be their policy. Honesty is something that people cannot (and will not) call you out on. Just take the example of Ferrari breaking the seal on Massa’s gearbox in Austin 2012. They were honest about what they had done so people could not condemn them for hiding their intentions.

Furthermore, with Ferrari in mind, why does Red Bull not publicly rebuke their drivers for going against the wishes of the team? Il Padrino recently clipped the ears of Alonso very publicly, showing him who was in charge. This is something Red Bull will never do.

Will 2014 be any better with Ricciardo? Red Bull has said they will have equal status for 2014 but saying they are both going to be equal is ridiculous. Who are they trying to fool? Does the team honestly think that people will believe this?

This was a golden opportunity to say that Vettel is now the number 1 having been at the team for longer. So as long as Vettel continues to dominate and Red Bull management shows a lack of backbone and discipline the boos will continue. Vettel is the messenger and he is fighting a losing battle against his own institution. If anything, it just makes it more impressive that he has the will power to laugh it off and keep on driving.

We keep on working, we do our thing, we are who we are.” Sebastian Vettel, Australian GP qualifying 2011.

This is part 1 of a two part series. TJ13 will look at Sporting Code and the ethics (or lack thereof) of booing.

Credit also to Adam Macdonald and Danilo Schöneberg for their input.

75 responses to “#F1 Features: The Vettel ‘boo’ pandemic

  1. I couldn’t care less about the booing, Alonso heard far worse, so did Lewis.
    Some people don’t like Vettel, so what?
    It’s not like Mother Theresa get’s insulted.

    • That part i get, i just don’t understand how much media attention this is generating.
      So the Red Bull bubble has burst, and Vettel is at the receiving end, big deal.

      • Well, it certainly deserves the media attention as no other driver in history has been subjected to such a sustained amount of abuse, so it is only natural that people start wondering, why a driver, who’s history is rather catholic in comparison to some of his opponents gets so much abuse. And many also start wondering if Vettel is just the convenient target that people target their frustration at – frustration about the current state of F1 for instance.

        • Don’t get me wrong Danilo, i think this is a masterful piece of writing, i like the “ranty” style, as Richard puts it.
          But my point is: ” the war in Syria, terrorist attacks in Nairobi, and now Vettel gets booed, what’s next?”

  2. In several occasion I have thought that Judge is biased on vettel/webber conflict and (over)protecting webber. Now I clearly see that this is (currently) not the case.
    Very well written. Agree 99%.
    Webbers “case study” should include protégé status and protection from Mateshitz what covers everything what Marko/Horner might have think of. Or actually – haven’t dared even to think…

    Good piece of writing, TJ!

  3. Hmmm, a fascinating article and one that I want to respond to.
    Regarding one very important issue about accepted dominance, it depends on charisma.
    Valentino Rossi has long passed the era of dominating MotoGP, yet the crowd at Assen were on their feet when he took the lead. Look at any of the crowds and you’ll see a sea of yellow because the man has for thirteen years been the legend. Who can forget that one of the reasons Stoner retired was he was getting booed.
    After breaking his leg in 2010, crowds were down until his return was announced. Laguna Seca alone sold 50,000 because of the news. His antics after a race win allowed the fans to feel involved, you forget these people at your peril.
    Federer again was always a fan favourite, as was Muhammed Ali. Yet people like Doohan, Sampras and Tyson who dominated their respective categories never connected with the public. There was no element of being human in their performances, it was all about winning.

    The recent movie “Rush” shows 2 different type of drivers, the fun life enhancing Hunt and the serious Lauda. Why has it taken 37 years and a movie for Lauda to come across as human?
    Senna didn’t have the reliability of todays cars to truly dominate the era, yet in 1988 and 1989 he qualified on pole 13 time a season, missing out 3 times. Yet he had charisma to throw away. It says something, that I’m a Ferrari fan through and through, yet Senna was my hero.

    I’d suggest that Senna was feared or respected by the F1 audience more than he was loved, but we have the James Dean syndrome that death has made him a saint, something he most certainly wasn’t.

    Two other factors are very important, how willing are today’s superstars to compete against another in the same team. Whatever the machinations of Red Bull, the fact that they have signed Ricciardo is confirmation that they have a number 1 policy.
    If Alonso moves for next year, in everyone’s eyes he will have proved that he needs number 1 status, much like Schumacher before him.
    Senna, Rossi and any other truly great sport-star is strong enough in their beliefs to join any team.
    Senna turned Warwick away and you had the British media who supported the British angle suggesting Senna was scared of competition. Senna couldn’t care less and proved his point in 1988 against Prost.

    This brings me on to my final point. The media.
    I honestly can’t stand them, they all report the same stories from the same news outlet, or same team press releases without any input from their own research. It’s not just F1 it’s every single story out there. They are trained to sell bad news stories to the public, when was the last time we had a truly up lifting news story?
    Isn’t it significant that when a Brit wins a sporting tournament, the country gets a lift? Is it because we are so subdued with the covert machinations behind the scenes.

    Ferrari have for years been seen as the ultimate 1 and 2 driver organisation, yet this was abhorrent to Enzo. His cars were more important than the drivers. I blame Todt and Schumacher for changing this viewpoint.

    Success breeds resentment, and in Italy, you will never be supported whilst a Ferrari is being beaten. The nationality of the driver isn’t important either, an Italian winning in a Red Bull would be booed.

    The booing isn’t for young Seb, although some of his celebrations could be refined a little, it’s for a juggernaut that the media has portrayed as underhand with their drivers, underhand with their management (inc Marko) and not long ago were breaking sporting rules to gain advantages and not adhering to the RRA.

    Ferrari between 2002 and 2004 suffered the same antagonism, as do any footballers that have disappointed their teams or away fans at any time.

    I have rambled on for some time, but have one final comment to add. I have seen remarks in recent days that no other driver was ever booed.
    They have and possibly the worst I ever experienced was 1991 at Club Corner, Senna had run out of fuel and the Mansell fanatics were using terminology that would have shocked Harold Robbins!
    It saddened me.

    • Carlo, you said ” If Alonso moves for next year, in everyone’s eyes he will have proved that he needs number 1 status, much like Schumacher before him.
      Senna, Rossi and any other truly great sport-star is strong enough in their beliefs to join any team. ”

      Aren’t you forgetting that Rossi ran away to Ducati precisely because he COULDN’T get No. 1 status at Yamaha …… !

      Along with the famous ” wall “.

      The ” it’s me or him ( Lorenzo ) ” demand to Yamaha.

      Rossi always had No.1 status in Moto GP – then along came this pesky Spanish kid who was kicking his ass. So he spat the dummy and left ….

      Yamaha offered him a contract. He wasn’t fired, or let go, he chose to leave.

      And now last year he came back, cap in hand, begging Yamaha to let him return.

      Lorenzo had the option from Yamaha to stop this. Did he ? No. He welcomed Rossi back.

      Out of the two, it’s Jorge, NOT Valentino that’s strong enough to accept any team mate, and not need No.1 status.

  4. Very good piece. I personally think a lot of dislike has came to Vettel because of the way Webber manipulates the media into seeing his side of the story all the time.
    As an example, just look at the Singapore lift fiasco. When you see the footage was completely insane what he and Alonso done yet Mark plays the media that he was hard done by.

    • To be fair to Mark though. Most of this media manipulation is more likely done by his fiance and Manager Ann Neil.

      • Don’t forget his Dad Danilo. He was all over the media in Malaysia saying Vettel was favoured because he is European. Chip on his shoulder much…

    • So true. I believe TJ is going to be writing a piece on this at some point soon. Ultimately, he has broken the rules 3 times this year and is now getting punished for it.

  5. Very good article. But I don’t agree with a couple of things.

    The car is not designed to Vettel’s driving style. If we go back to 2012, the car suited Webber’s driving style more and then Vettel had to adapt. This is why Vettel was behind during the early stages. They both tried different styles and then Vettel had to adapt to Newey’s ‘evolving’ concept which actually helped Webber. But in the end Vettel mastered it. It is Ferrari who designs their car to one driver’s specific style.

    Like at McLaren, both drivers are given equal status at Red Bull. But Webber has been playing the victim part because he can’t tolerate being beaten by a young man. He exploits every opportunity to make it work for him and makes the team look bad.

    Ferrari has a very good PR machine which is still helping and protecting Alonso even though his not the best there is. That shows that a bottle of Chianti goes a long way than a can of Red Bull. If Red Bull had done the PR properly, then Vettel wouldn’t have been in this situation and everyone will be saying that Vettel is the most complete driver currently in F1.

    • I think I disagree with your vew on early 2012, Rob. The car didn’t really suit Mark, it just not suited Vettel at all. The blown diffusor had been nixed and now the car didn’t fit the specialized driving style of Vettel anymore, since it had lost a lot of rear downforce, which played into Marks hands as he was familiar with this kind of handling from his early career. One has to note though that Vettel still managed to win races with the car and once Adrian had reclaimed the proper downforce at the rear-end and Vettel could exploit his driving style to full potential, he went on his four-race winning streak that saw him overhaul Alonso.

      • Danilo, with the expected changes to the F1 cars next season, how do you think the loss of exhaust blowing technology will affect Vettel?
        I do not doubt that he is a special talent, would love to see him at Ferrari sooner rather than later, but will his dominance disappear to be reset to everyone elses level.

        I think it’s easy to credit his success with the blown diffuser but I remember Giorgio Ascanelli talking about him when he was at Toro Rosso. At Valencia, he discovered something that lifted his level from merely a Grand Prix driver to a winning driver. He was immediately faster.

        • I would expect that, like everyone else, Vettel will need time to adapt to the new engine characteristics, but as we have seen in 2010 and 2012, he adapts quickly, which was one of the advantages he had over Webber. How good will RB be next year? Your guess is as good as mine. A lot will depend on whether the Merc engine is really that much better than Ferrari and Renault as rumour has it. One thing I DO know is that Newey’s design team has had the fastest development speed since 2009, so even if the RB is somewhat slower next year, it will probably catch up faster than the opposition.

  6. I’m not sure that my comment is fully on topic, but it’s something that always comes to mind when the Red Bull = fizzy drink company thing swirls around.

    Note: I actually agree quite a bit with the “success bought, not earned” angle which your honour alludes to, above. I especially think this is true when we look back at how RB was lauded, initially, for being the fun/rock & roll team breathing a breath of fresh air through F1. My, how things can change when semi-dominance appears – along with a significant dose of what appears to be an arrogant attitude (although its probably only being competitive in everything they do – much like any F1 team may aspire to).

    Anyway, to my point:

    Yes, Red Bull as a brand/company/core business are Johnny-come-lately’s to F1, look to have “bought” rather than “earned” their success (and, in my opinion, FAR too much influence over the running of F1 and its financial pay-outs) and are only in it for the promotional value and, therefore, may leave at any point when the return on investment no longer pays off for the fizzy drinks.

    However, we should remember that the TEAM itself – those that design, build and run the cars etc. – have a much longer tradition in F1 (since 1997) and the essence of the team itself goes back beyond that into Paul Stewart Racing. Of course many of the staff will have moved on, as is normal in any walk of life. But the team has been here for some time before Red Bull and will likely be here long after. This is the same situation that Lotus have – and which is why they constantly talk about themselves as the “Enstone Team” and make sure that they project themselves as the died-in-the-wool racers that they truly are. I think the “Milton Keynes Team” is similar and deserves 100% respect for their work – quite separate from the “talented” management and deep pockets of their current owners…

    Just sayin’

  7. Great article, a really enjoyable read. I agree with most of it, but I think the issue for some may well be due to the domination. Personally, I can’t warm to Vettel, I think he is funny, personable and a hard racer, but save for a few issues with alternators and very few other technical issues, it seems like he is also much more lucky than any other driver. When Vettel spun in Brazil last season, I am certain that if anyone else got hit like he did on the first lap they would have had to retire. How many times has Webber had KERS issues in comparison with Vettel? In the last race even, Vettel races to the end of the race putting in multiple fastest laps, but it’s Webbers engine that fails. Personally. I couldn’t give 2 hoots about ‘multi 21’ or that he is the unconfirmed number one driver, but my niggle is that he wins so consistently and with less than average bad luck. I know that you make your own luck, but 2 identical cars should surely suffer similar failure rates. I will however, never boo or hiss him, in fact I will still applaud his achievements, even if it grinds my gears.

    • There are several fact to take into consideration. As strange as it sounds, but Vettel and Webber have actually a 50:50 balance over the years. In 2009 and 2010 it was actually Vettel, who constantly got the poop end of the stick. In fact all in all Vettel had more mechanical DNF’s than Webber, at least 4 of them from a comfortable lead (for instance Silverstone ’13).

      Another thing that people overlook is, that Webber is taller and 14kg heavier than Vettel. That has two consequences. First, Mark’s monocoque has to be slightly bigger, which could contribute to the minor faults he keeps having as most of them are cooling related. The other thing is that due to the weight difference, Vettel has an additional 14 kilos of balast weight, which he can put where car balance demands, while Mark can’t. That gives Vettel a natural advantage in car setup.

      • Ah, so with Ricciardo being roughly the same height as Vettel then, we can expect a summer crash diet to get him to a proper fighting weight! Great info again DS.

  8. Then there is the recent news that RB have vetoed smaller teams trading 2014 track testing time time for incremental wind tunnel time.

    Horner was also high profile when he attended the International \tribunal when Dominicali and his posse steered clear.

    I have spoken to hundreds of fans this year about their dislike of RB/Vettel, and much of their gripe is because they feel the team whinges about everything which doesn’t favour them and the phrase “want it all their own way” I’ve heard a lot.

    You could argue this is merely the intense attention to detail over all things which Vettel alluded to yesterday… but F1 has some huge issues at present and it would be a real PR scoop if RB were seen to be doing something positive to protect the weaker teams and the sport – instead of obsessing over every detail to gain an advantage.

    By the way, I had some collaborative assistance on this article – so thanks to those who helped – and they know who they are.

    • But that view on RB is a bit skewed. Ferrari has been exactly like that for over 60 years. Each and every team is hell-bent on getting an advantage for themselves. Why do you think Force India keeps bitching about the tyres 😉

      • Force India example is a bit different. They built a car which was competitive, and then the goalposts were changed. In truth, they would probably still be ahead of McLaren if the tyres had not been altered.
        Especially when this is going to cost them millions £££ in the constructors….and they are team on a far inferior budget to the like of McLaren, RB, Ferrari….

        • That’s all true, but they exactly know WHY the tyres were changed. Pirelli postponed the introduction of the new tyres twice (Canada, Silverstone). Only after the Silverstone disaster their hand was forced and FI actually agreed to the tyre change, yet they still bitch about it. Every team whinges about things that don’t go their way.

          • It would be fair to say that McLaren, at least over the more recent past, have frequently done things to support other teams – even when it was not necessarily in their own, very narrow, competitive interests.

            I’m thinking particularly about the consistent work to enforce the RRA (signed by all teams – whether they have since kept to the agreement or not) and ensuring that Brawn got engines from Mercedes.

            Alternatively, it seems that RB will make whatever argument serves their competitive purposes – even if it’s the opposite of what they argued last time the subject came up (track time and it’s value to testing, for example) – regardless of the impact on the sport as a whole.

            I’m not saying that any team has a direct responsibility to act against their own interests, but at least ONE eye on the bigger picture might be nice… 😉

          • But McLaren also is the team that for their own gain have been involved in two major scandals in recent years. (lie-gate and spy-gate), so I don’t think they’re really the Mother Theresa outfit on the grid 😉

          • Agreed, Dan they’re not about to get any petition for sainthood from me. However, their approach to smaller teams and the “big picture” does, I would argue, contrasts sharply with RB’s (or, for that matter, Ferrari’s).

      • DS – I suspect Marussia are getting a bit of a deal on the engines from Ferrari. It’s in Ferrari’s interest to have 2 customer’s and this will help the team who have been cast asunder by the tight fisted Ecclestone.

        • But you don’t really think Ferrari is doing this out of charity or even out of giving a flying expletive about Marussia, do you? They want a willing pawn in inter-teams matters and a place to park their juniors. I’m pretty sure that’s as far as Maranello’s charity goes.

          • But it looks good and it does indeed help financially.

            Stopping small budget teams who are seconds off the leading car pace from having a few extra wind tunnel hours appears petty.

          • Let’s start with the fact that these smaller teams don’t have a wind tunnel to begin with. And since when are wind tunnel hours restricted? What they want is wind tunnel time with a 1:1 model – no team has such an installations. Doesn’t that smack of just extra costs?

          • Force India and Sauber argue it’s cheaper than testing on the track. Why would they do so and be prepared to suffer a loss of track time if this was untrue

          • TJ, wind tunnel time is not restricted. Sauber has one of the most sophisticated 60% tunnels of all teams. What they want is 1:1 time – yes it would probably be cheaper, but it’d deprive drivers of track time. Sauber don’t give a fuck, they haven’t even got a simulator and left Frijns a mere kitchen appliance this year. Track time should still be preferred. Ferrari surely will be happy to clean the dust off Fiorano. I don’t understand all this ‘Windtunnel for tracktime’ malarkey. There never has been a restriction on windtunnel time as far as I know. What the heck is this all about?

          • Fine DS

            1:1 time in the wind tunnel – it’s still incremental to what they have now – further they wanted to be allowed incremental CFD resources.


            As I said last week, if this is a cheaper and better option as RB suggest, why go track testing.


  9. Hogwash. The real culprit is the English media. They portray Vettel as only having success because Newey designs his car. Had he been driving for anyone else he would be average at best. I doubt they’d say the same thing about Hamilton had he been driving for Red Bull, rather he’d be called the greatest driver since Senna, maybe better. Webber is portrayed as the plucky Australian that can’t get a break because of a conspiracy against him. When he has a car failure it suggested that Red Bull have been responsible.

    I started following F1 as a young kid in an era when drivers were routinely killed. I was a 100 yards away from Ricardo Paletti when he had his accident in Montreal that would take his life. Fans in those days had their favourites as they do today. But the thing that fans had then that they don’t have today is respect for what a driver does. The driver that you just watched going down a straight could be killed at the next corner.

    And that brings me back to the English media. They dominate F1 and have turned drivers into rock starts. The casual fan today, who usually doesn’t know much of the sport, is easy influenced by them. The media whips them up into a frenzy with the Mutli-21 BS and how Vettel is unworthy to be the WC. It’s the main reason I don’t bother much with the English F1 sites any more, this one included.

    Good Night.

    • Wow…! And there was me thinking you had been resurrected… but you just died and went to heaven…
      Good Night and Good Luck… 😉

    • Theres your excellent comment right their, pointless me replying as thats exactly how I feel. Whilst most the things mentioned in this comments section are an issue, this is the biggest culprit of all. All I would add is that, given the excellent season in 2012, there seems to have been a growing number of casual fans, at least over here amongst my friends, family, and associates, and the London media being the primary conduit for casual fans has asacerbated that. 2013 has seen this backlash because of that.

    • Hey Cav. Good to hear your usual bullish opinions.

      Err maybe the driver’s have less respect today from the fans as they are not putting their lives on the line. Not that I’m suggesting they should.

      Okay, to be the quickest requires great skill – but for £15m-£30m a year there are plenty given the opportunity who would be up there due to their dedication and development of their craft.

  10. Nice write-up. I’m all for respect and all and boos are bad. Ok, with that out of the way, no one forced Vettel to display a complete lack of sportsmanship in Malaysia. Not sure he will learn (hint: he won’t and he could not care less) but no sportsmanship = no “fanmanship”. Pretty simple no? (Ok, simplistic too, I’ll give you that…)

    • By that simplistic logic, however neither Alonso, Hamilton or Webber would have any fans, especially ‘nando and Lewis. They have been involved in much worse scandals than ignoring a team order.

  11. I don’t think it is just bad PR work from Red Bull. Sure, Vettel wants to be liked, and as many people who want to be liked he can display a very likeable personality. However, when things are not going his way a very unlikeable petulant side comes out. And I think this side is what is mainly causing the boos. Sure, Red Bull could have handled things better, but it all goes back to Turkey 2010. Stupidly crashing into his team mate and then laying all blame on him created the impression that Vettel was an arrogant, immoral, win at all costs driver who cannot admit to his mistakes. Red Bull acting as if he was right worsened the situation and gave Webber the opportunity of playing the underdog. That is why he was applauded for ignoring ream orders and Vettel is not.

    I also don’t get why fans are now being told they are unsporting for booing Vettel. There are consequences to every action. Vettel made himself the villain, and as a result is disliked by the public. If he doesn’t want to be booed he needs to analyse what it is that got the fans angry at him and try to correct it. If he doesn’t care he can ignore them. It is as simple as that.

    • Please have a look at Turkey incident now 3 years later (available on youtube). There is also clip from Vettels car camera
      Please evaluate Mark’s trajectory. And consider it from 2 perspective
      a) teammate
      b) competitor
      And have a 3 questions
      – what where Mark’s intentions keeping this racing line
      – would other competitors from other teams keep same trajectory as Mark did under these circumstances
      – could Mark make it to Turn AND LEAVE a space for Vettel required by rules assuming he would keep trajectory without collision.

      I don’t want to say that Vettel is innocent. No – he should look in mirror and see that Mark is not going back to racing line. But if you have been on race track you know that in these circumstances Mark went purposely on collision course and he wouldn’t dare to do this to any other driver than he’s teammate… So – Vettel didn’t check the mirrors but Mark was on this position on racing track against all common sense and logic. Intended to collide. Purposely. Doesn’t make Vettel less guilty for not checking mirrors and causing collision. Assuming Vettel checking mirrors properly both would not make it to corner and would go straight from turn…

      That’s my analysis based on my practice and personal racing experience.

        • Just our luck that your honour is always so collected and never impulsively does anything less than a well thought out gesture, even in a high adrenaline situation.

          Seriously, if you still wank over something like that 3 years after…

  12. Mmm, interesting article, but the thing that is being overlooked is the fact that RedBull above all is a marketing machine much more than it is a racing company, RedBull is a brand built on marketing and the reflection of that strategy in their F1 operations is te complicated ‘checks and balances’ system that is put in place between Dieter, Dr Marko and Horner. The latter indeed looks like a very weak team boss compared to those with a similar job in a real racing organization, but then again, RedBull is in F1 to be talked about and to spread its extreme sports image. So Horner is anything but the ultimate decision maker on what is happening in and with the team. RedBull will do anything to create and cultivate controversy – even if it means having their ‘star driver’ being booed at, create some intra-team controversy or have their drivers run into each other. So in short: I agree with the content of the article insofar it points to the fact that the Vettel booing is due to the ‘bad management’ of the team boss, but the thing that is missing is the acknowledgment that this ‘bad management’ is actually a very consious and well executed strategy to sell more energy drinks…

  13. I disagree Judge! Great article, but reading it, gives off the impression it’s all RB’s fault, Webber is a manipulator, and Vettel is actually not that bad. Hogwash I say!
    Vettel is as bad as Schumacher and Alonso. He wants and knows he has the support of the team and the team works primarily for him and when things don’t go his way he becomes an egotistical “throw my toys out of the pram” person. Simple as that.
    Fans are not that stupid, they can see through people, and it’s not just all the English media manipulation.

      • alonso yes, and there are a lot of people who diskike him for it. but when did hamilton throw his toys out? generally he handled it pretty well when button or rosberg beat him and when he raced in a team with fernando, it was alonso who went into meltdown mode, not lewis. he is also quick to admit to and appologize for mistakes, so i don’t really see how he compares to vettel and alonso in that respect.

          • that was one incident in a season where numerous team errors arguably cost him the championship. hamilton is not without weaknesses, but petulance is not one of them.

        • anijs, I’ll probably not win a lot of points for guessing, who you are a fan of. Seriously – did you somehow miss the whole 2011 season? Lewis was all over the place.

          • Irrespective of the whole 2011 season, his antics don’t come close to Alonso’s, plus he’s not capable of politics behind closed doors, something that Alonso, Vettel and Button excel at.
            And no matter what lame excuse or example some people may bring up, Hamilton never demanded or asked for a no 2, something that the three above do want!
            Hence that fact some people place Alonso and Vettel in the arch-villain category and Hamilton a bit further down (maybe, in the villain side-kick group 🙂 ).

            PS There are no super-hero drivers in F1, only us, the fans!

          • I think you make some assumptions here that are not quite true. The only of the mentioned drivers who ever “demanded” #1 status was Fernando by having Kimi pushed out. Button, as far as I can remember, never vetoed a team mate. Vettel wanted Kimi in the team as Mark’s successor. According to German media (Spiegel and Motorsport Total) it was Dr. Marko, who vetoed Kimi on the grounds that he wouldn’t contribute enough to development work and wouldn’t be too willing to take part in promotional activities, which are probably more important at RB than in any other team.

          • Danilo, I agree that I make assumptions here about Vettel and Button, but the perception among F1 fans is that Vettel needs/wants a no 2 driver and the same goes for Button. Vettel had said he preferred Kimi to Alonso, not that he wants Kimi and none other. And Button sees himself the boss at McLaren and tries his best to subdue Perez. It’s just my perception.

          • I’m a huge Hamilton fan, so don’t think I’m saying what I did to have a dig, but yeah as Dani and Padre said 2011 and Spa last year are good examples, but as Mc78 says, he is not in the manipulation league, he is much more of a ‘heart on sleeve’ type which is what I like about him, but he’s still had his moment, I will add that most of 2012, and certainly 2013, he has been far more grounded and centred, which I hope he can carry forward, as I think it will bode well for his championship chances in future!

          • huh? how does that season relate to hamilton throwing his toys out of the pram. i didn’t say he is without faults, i said he is not petulant.

  14. With Schumacher gone, there is no other German people love to hate more that Vettel.

    Multi21, the freaking finger and his nationality all count up.
    His dominance is simply not bearable for many these days.

    I went to Spa a couple of weeks ago. After the race I saw nobody cheering, nobody was happy and everyone I asked around me told the same thing; “Vettel is a f*cking wanker.”

    He has it now. He can’t lose it anymore. Good old fashioned “Anti-Schumacherism” is being converted into Anti-Vettelism.


    • I’ll amend the Oxford dictionary entry…

      boo = A sound uttered to show contempt, scorn, disapproval, or Vettel winning.

    • So in the end it comes down to what I’ve said a lot of times – petty jealousy, if I understand Frans correctly.

      • That and the media whipping it up into hypermode.

        You can argue all the nuances in between, and they are probably factors, but… had he won 1 WC, but still done all the things he has to date people use as excuses, I maintain he would not be being booed, well maybe at Monza… always at monza, until 2016 at least ;-P

  15. Pingback: #F1 Features: The Vettel ‘Boo’ Pandemic Part III | thejudge13·

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