F1 drivers told to mind language after Abu Dhabi podium embarrassment

Abu Dhabi podium ceremony with Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard

Abu Dhabi podium ceremony with Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and David Coulthard

Nov.9 (Reuters) Formula One drivers have been told to mind their language after world champion Sebastian Vettel and race winner Kimi Raikkonen turned the air blue on the podium at last Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

(L to R): Race winner Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing (3rd) on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Race, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sunday 4 November 2012.A spokesman for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Thursday that a private and ‘friendly’ letter had been sent to all teams’ communications directors about the bad language.

The letter reminded them that it was “very much our collective responsibility to make sure drivers are aware [that]such language has no place during media events.”

It added that swearing in broadcast interviews “shines an unwelcome beam of adverse publicity on their teams and sponsors, the sport and FIA.”

Raikkonen, whose win for Lotus was the first of his comeback and first by the 2007 world champion since he was at Ferrari in 2009, is well known for his taciturn nature and much of what he says in English can be hard to follow.

He was perfectly intelligible on the Abu Dhabi podium, however, when interviewed by former McLaren team mate turned television pundit David Coulthard.

“Last time you guys was giving me sh*t because I didn’t really smile enough,” declared the Finn in his opening remarks on the live televised feed.

Ferrari headphones and radio. Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Preparations, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 10 May 2012.

Vettel, Red Bull‘s championship leader who finished third, said in the same podium session that starting from the pit lane was “obviously a chance to f*ck it up and we didn’t do that.”

Both driver comments were retained in the official FIA transcript and were still to be found on the FIA website (www.fia.com) on Thursday.

Coulthard apologised to television viewers afterwards, reminding them that neither driver had been speaking in his mother tongue.

The FIA letter said the governing body understood that “in the ‘heat of battle’, adrenaline, elation and disappointment make for a dangerous and heady mix.

“But F1 drivers are not the only ones being interviewed in such conditions: I think of boxers, rugby and football players who are routinely interviewed live on television after a gruelling sporting effort. They manage to avoid inappropriate language.”

The FIA introduced the podium interviews, conducted by a former driver, this season in an effort to give more to fans at the circuit. Drivers had previously only waved and sprayed champagne after the race before being whisked off to talk to the media.

Ironically, teams have been known to encourage drivers to pepper their team radio chat with strong language during the race to ensure their comments will not be chosen for broadcast and heard by rivals.

All radio transmissions during the race are screened by Formula One Management before being given clearance.

Red Bull’s Australian Mark Webber said in 2010 that he should have “put some colourful language either side of my radio transmission” after creating a controversy by saying as he crossed the line at Silverstone that the win was “not bad for a number two driver”.

Subbed by AJN.

  • muddles

    I was shocked with the language used by Vettel. He claims it was a slip up, under no circumstances do I believe that.
    I think he was trying to out do Kimi and could not have given a hoot.
    He can drive, he can’t stand being beaten in qualifying or in a race.
    His facial expression just indicates that.
    He’s just a little grub.

  • muddles

    It shows Vettells true mentality. He’s a little grub who can drive a car.

  • Bec

    There were more complaints to the BBC about the late uploading to iPlayer of the race, than there was for the bad language.

    Surely everyone knows Kimi has form in this area, he said exactly the same thing on the grid in Brazil.

  • hillside

    Kimi by nature is a real bad a$$ and doesnt give a fu*k while Seb is trying hard to be like one.

  • Alonsofan

    I think vettel was trying to act like a”cool kid” and be like Kimi but it doesnt matter the iceman is Iceman

  • fools

    Vettel exposed…and its wasnt funny. Kimi was just being…well Kimi.

    But Pouring champagne on Coultard wasnt cool either…Vettel thought so. I’m sure Coultard told him otherwise behind closed doors. Dude was wearing a nice wardrobe just to be stained on lol.

    Vettel needs to learn from Alonso on how to be mature when barely making it on podium.

    Alonso not talked about because he is a mature individual.


    But hey they were all having fun. I agree Vettel “trying” to fit in.

    On another note. Can Vettel ever not talk so damn long…?? gosh darn…he says “yeah” every other sentence as if he has so much to talk about…my goodness answer the question and stop there…give talk time for others.

  • Lauda Fan

    Oh, so now all the F1 winners have to be “respectable” and no bad words? is this F1 or 1st grade people? Get over it! These guys go out there and rick their balls entitles them to curse a bit after it’s over.

  • fools

    @Lauda fan…I dont mind cursing…but there is a given time for it and not a given time. However, Kimi was being Kimi…then when the microphone went to Vettel to f* bombs come out. Come on now…unnecessary! thats the point…you gonna curse…curse with or to the team…not to fans and children spectating.

    we already know they risk not rick there lives…thats granted.

    After all that… drivers need to know esp. during podium to hold there tongue. Just like they do by not giving away secrets or telemetry like LH. lol.

    I curse at home all the time. yell curse words. at my job..no way!

    difference. if you cannot see the difference. you are blind. Just like the Alonso haters. :)


  • fools

    heres a joke…for cursing…penalize Vettel to the mid-pack, not pit lane… and see where he ends up for the Austin GP. lol

    Id be laughing my ass off.


  • Aileen Bodiwala

    ah! ah! ah! David Coulthard you deserve shit. Kimi was bold enough to insult you and he was right. Especially after a hard race you get rosewater and then you come on the Podium for press conference which seems Inappropriate. Lucky Kimi had no Champagne. No words are bad words its a figure of speech that makes them special. Are you forgetting David you showed your middle finger to Schumacher during the 2000 race and what was that? Kimi is Awesome and Vettel or any driver can say what you deserve its their moment. We hear you having fun on their cost while they are driving. I have seen a bunch of idiots on BBCF1 Paddock making fun of drivers when they make mistakes or spin.And you guys laugh aloud.Its not the same with SpeedTVF1.com they are very careful with their comments and respect all drivers on the grid.

  • Aileen Bodiwala

    Just to add to my comment further there is no foul language as such it comes out direct and fresh from their mouth which you may say is reflex action speech with all that 2 hours of driving and excitement. So grow up and let them have their share of words. Kimi is Awesome we look forward for some more T-shirts on sale.

  • muddles

    You are an idiot.
    If these guys can control an F1 car for 2 hours surely they can control their tongues for 3 minutes. Vettells language was appalling.
    End of story.

  • Magnus Rubensson (Swede in the UK)

    From a purely Scandinavian point of view, the “S-word” from Raikkonen is a very mild profanity.

    I don’t know Finnish, but in my native Swedish language, the four-letter “S-word” would be comparable in strength to hearing an English-speaking person saying “darn” or “heck”, or even “doh!”.

    my 2p (25 öre)

  • Speedo

    @muddles that idiot – either its bad upbringing or bad schooling and therefore He can not choose right from wrong. Sadly it takes all kinds to make this world and he is one of them we have to put up with

  • tony sullivan

    and just whom was it that told them to mind their language???

    Fia sucks

  • Aileen Bodiwala

    @muddles do not muddle with me…if you don’t know the meaning just shut up. and @speedo learn to recognize a male and a female. ..so perhaps you will understand from where it derived. If you are not well versed about the word F***, F*** means : Fornication Under consent of the King.
    In ancient England a person could not have sex unless you had consent of the King (unless you were in the Royal Family). When anyone wanted to have a baby, they got consent of the King, the King gave them a placard that they hung on their door while they were having sex. The placard had F.*.*.*. (Fornication Under Consent of the King) on it. Now you know where that came from. Maybe David Coulthard or BBCF1 should know it came from their own country before calling a it a foul language. @Speedo learn some good grammar and @Muddles it sounds like you belong to the same place you have no etiquette to address a lady. .

  • AlonsoFan

    @fools damn right Man does Vettel go on and on about how difficult the race was and overuses the word “tricky” and “yeah”….damn stupid