Daniel Ricciardo slams Formula 1 over inhumane glorification of crashes
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Daniel Ricciardo’s bad blood with Formula 1 executives is raging again after a social media post that left the Aussie driver shaking his head.
The McLaren driver this week hit out at senior figures in Formula 1 over the inhumane glorification of crashes in ongoing promotion of the sport.
The 31-year-old led the contempt directed at Formula 1 following a series of replays being shown of former Haas driver Romain Grosjean during his frightening fireball crash at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
The former Renault and Red Bull racer was scathing in the aftermath of Grosjean’s crash, saying it was “disgusting” that the live TV broadcast continued to show a loop of replays of the scary incident during the hour-long break before the re-start of the race.
Ricciardo’s outburst resulted in him in December agreeing to meet with Formula 1 director of marketing and communications Ellie Norman to reach a peaceful resolution.
That had appeared to be the end of it, but an interview has now revealed Ricciardo is far from finished in his push to clean up the sport from its own employees.
Ricciardo has told UK lifestyle magazine Square Mile Formula 1 is still habitually crossing the line with its internal coverage of crashes and on-track drama.
He highlights a social media post from last year where the official F1 account promoted crashes as some of the biggest moments of the 2020 season, which was famously derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think last year, F1 put on their social channels, like, ‘top 10 moments of the year’ or something, and eight of the ten were crashes,” he said.
“I was just like, you guys are f***ing idiots. Maybe 12-year-old kids want to see that kind of content, and that’s cool because they don’t know any better, but we’re not kids. Just do better, guys. Do better than that.”
He says in the interview the trending focus on drama has also been propelled in the highly-acclaimed Netflix documentary series Drive To Survive.
“I think the first season of Drive To Survive was awesome,” he said.
“I spend some time in the States, and I noticed it literally from one trip to the next.
“It was the first time I started being recognised and people referencing that TV series. So it certainly did us wonders, even – not to talk social media – but numbers on social media went nuts. It did a lot for us and the sport.
“I mean the second season, there were some episodes or parts where I feel they forced it a little bit.
“They tried to create a bit of a rivalry between me and [Carlos] Sainz and it wasn’t really there. Like, he’s no more a rival than anyone else. There wasn’t any personal grudge with him, but I think [Netflix] wanted something, so a lot of questions led with asking about Carlos.
“Maybe no one noticed, but for me, I was like, he’s fine. I’ve probably got other guys that I dislike, you know, as opposed to Carlos… I mean, he dresses like a 60 year old, but otherwise he’s alright.”
Ricciardo’s comments strike a very different tune to the one that followed his initial meeting with the sport’s marketing boss.
“I think she was very understanding and appreciative, and I think also accepted my concerns as well,” he said at the time.
“She didn’t push back, I think she was trying to listen and learn as well, how they could maybe do things differently. But she also talked me through the reasons why they broadcast what they did.”
It came after he gave the administration a public slap in Bahrain last year.
“The way the incident of Grosjean was broadcast over and over, the replays over and over, it was completely disrespectful and inconsiderate for his family, for all of our families watching,” he said.
“We’re going to go race again in an hour and every time we look on the TV it’s a ball of fire and his car’s cut in half.
“I mean we can see that tomorrow, we don’t need to see it today.
“For me, it was entertainment and they’re playing with all of our emotions and I thought it was pretty disgusting.”
Grosjean famously escaped the crash and suffered only burns to his hands.
Formula 1 at the time defended the decision to replay the incident, saying the footage only rolled again when officials were certain Grosjean and the marshals who came to his aid were all safe.