How Formula 1 Kills its Heroes

Seb 5 Canada 2019

The penalty against Sebastian Vettel splits Formula 1, as well as his behavior afterward. But it’s exactly these emotions this sport lives of. A review by David Schneider and Bianca Garloff editor in chief at German motorsport magazine Auto Bild Motorsport:

It is an alarming signal and one that the Formula 1 makers should take seriously:

A driver rages inside parc fermée, repudiates the winning plates in front of their respective cars, ignores the podium ceremonial – and then becomes a “legend” in social media with the support of many colleagues – plenty of them former world champions.

It was Sebastian Vettel as we all know him when he feels unfairly treated. An emotional volcano that heats up emotions and suddenly erupts.

We have already written about it after his direct confrontation with Charlie Whiting in Mexico in 2016 and also after his bumper car move against Lewis Hamilton in Baku in 2017:

We support it!

Critics may say that Vettel’s behavior harms his responsibility of being a role model. I disagree.

Role models stand up for what they believe in. If Vettel feels like being made a fool of, well, he confronts it head-on.

The 4-time world champion is through and through genuine. No actor. Not someone who contrives all the intricate consequences of his actions in advance. Vettel is an old-school hero.

What you see is what you get. And that’s why his warning shot that he dropped during in the press conference is all the more dangerous:

“Ultimately it’s not the sport that I fell in love with when I was watching…”

It’s not the obligatory muzzles most pilots and officials wear these days. No, it’s the racing itself he points at.

Of what happened that robbed him of a well-deserved victory. His criticism: Formula 1 has become too politically correct not only off but also on the tracks. There is nothing left of the once so fascinating sport.

And he is right! The makers of the premier class of racing constantly propagate that they aim at serving their fans, always trying to improve it. However, with the decisions by the FIA stewards on Sunday, they only achieve the opposite. In fact, they deter spectators even more.

Where should Vettel have gone after his ride on the green? That’s just one aspect of the discussion.

Much worse: Vettel and Hamilton were in a fight for victory and obviously, Vettel’s minor slip of concentration wasn’t serious enough to give an advantage that Hamilton could have exploited.

Yet, in the spirit of the FIA stewards, Vettel should have set the blinker and waved his rival past him!

We say: NO!

If such penalties become the norm, Formula 1 kills its heroes – and thus itself. That’s why the official appeal is not just something for the Tifosis’ heart – it must set the direction in which Formula 1 should move forward to.

Formula 1 has now a unique chance to manifest its reputation as a premier class in motorsport – or stray away even further from its fans it so desires to serve.

*This article was first published in German at



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