Tech Draft: How bad is booing by Formula 1 fans?

tifosi fans monza boopodium

As we look forward to the much anticipated 2021 Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix this weekend there are many unknowns, but the one certainty is that the pro-Max Verstappen crowd will boo, and why shouldn’t they?

Let’s face it, in recent times some factions within F1 have been setting the narrative that crowd booing and heckling are some form of socially unacceptable behaviours, and even disparaging, but isn’t the reality that the anti-booing movement is simply over sensitivity?

The football match, the boxing title fight, the championship darts final, the one-day international cricket match, and even the half-drunk and inappropriate best man speech at a wedding gone awry, are all acceptable forums for booing, just like the F1 Grand Prix is.

Consider the McLaren team bus on its way to the Monza paddock being rocked, spat at, and booed at by the Tifosi, Alain Prost surrounded by armed guards being heckled and booed whilst passing through the Senna-delirious throng at Interlagos, and the entire F1 community not only booed but literally being chased out of Indianapolis in 2005.

Regardless of what changes F1 makes in modern times, they are all in pursuit of improving “the show”, and let’s face it, F1 is dramatic, it is emotive, and just like any scene being acted out in theatre, the audience are active participants in that show.

One of the wonderful things about a theatrical production is that often the actors play out roles that we can identify with on a personal level as heroes or villains, but not only is our perception open to personal interpretation, we can also become emotionally invested in the story and become active participants.

We laugh, we cry, we clap, we stomp, we jeer, we hiss, and we boo.

A Formula 1 Grand Prix is a piece of gladiatorial theatre, and whilst the best are not only Gods, but we also individually choose those who are the heroes and who are the foes, and we become emotionally invested ourselves as we cheer, and you got it, we boo.

It’s not bad, it’s not socially unacceptable, it’s natural human behaviour and it is ingrained as instinct in us all.

Do we really want an F1 crowd to sit there in the grandstands emotionless and stone-faced clapping on command and in unison like robots out of some sort of 1960’s time warp?

If there was one word to aptly describe what F1 is at a deeper level, it would be ‘passion’.

We are all members of the F1 community, and whilst we won’t stand for anything hateful, becoming emotionally invested in the battle by cheering and booing is just a natural way for us to demonstrate our passion for the one common interest that draws us all together.

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