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GP Week : Issue 175
As tumultuous as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix proved to be, I felt that it lost a good deal of its lustre on the podium. The use of the ‘F’ and ‘S’ words on live, global TV is totally unacceptable and should be jumped-upon immediately by the FIA. $50,000 fines would be about right. Yes, I understand that Finnish and German are the first languages of Messrs Raikkonen and Vettel. All the more reason for this whole issue to be given the importance it deser ves. In the absence of any sort of unified, co-ordinated F1 marketing and public relations department, it behoves the teams to instruct their drivers clearly on matters of manners, protocol and local custom. You or I may not worry too much about drivers swearing after the race; but in some parts of the world – notably the USA, spraying four-letter words even on network TV, let alone on a live, global world feed – it is tantamount to drinking champagne on the podium in a Muslim country. And, in case it had escaped everyone’s notice, the next round of the F1 Championship happens to be in the USA. That being the case, I suggest that all relevant team personnel take a crash course on what is acceptable, and what isn’t, on prime-time American TV. Believe me. America is ultra-conser vative by F1 standards – Conser vative with a capital C. Of course, at a different level, the swearing in Abu Dhabi unearths a deeper problem – ie, F1’s ability to laugh away all its traumas and carry on as if the world doesn’t have an economic credit crunch and that TV viewing figures are continuing to climb. And, so long as the luxurious motorhomes continue to shelter the dark-windowed meetings, and the private aircraft and the first-class cabins insulate the power-brokers from the vicissitudes of international travel, it’s easy to understand why everyone, come Thursday afternoon at any given F1 race, always feels so jolly. From where I sit, however, The Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal do not make great reading. There is an ongoing The expletives which slipped out on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix podium are symbolic of a deeper issue, says F1 analyst PETER WINDSOR IMAGE IS EVERYTHING 23 GPWEEK.com // 23 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> OPINION