Would you boo at an F1 race? (Video)

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Schumacher and Barrichello were booed on the podium at Austria in 2002

Lewis Hamilton got an unsurprisingly hostile welcome from sections of the crowd at Valencia during last weekend’s European Grand Prix. (However there have been no reports of any repeat of the racist taunting directed at him in Spain earlier this year).

Hamilton’s not the first driver to have been the target of a hostile crowd either – see a video below of Fernando Alonso getting an earful from the Ferrari fans at Monza in 2006.

Fans booing players is a big thing in some sports – Kyle Busch gets booed in NASCAR and in football they even boo members of their own team for reasons I won’t pretend to understand. Would you boo anyone at an F1 race?

Here’s Fernando Alonso being booed by the Tifosi at Monza after retiring from the 2006 race:

Alonso was locked in a close battle with Michael Schumacher for the championship battle at the time.

I find that video a bit surprising because I went to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza last year and sat in the very same stand, surrounded by Ferrari fans. But I never felt for a second that they were particularly hostile towards McLaren, Hamilton or Alonso, despite the championship situation and spygate rumbling on at the time.

Perhaps it was something to do with the fans who turned up? Perhaps Michael Schumacher inspired the wrong kind of F1 fanaticism? Or maybe they were jsut subdued because McLaren ran away with the race.

One of the most famous examples of F1 fans booing was at Austria in 2002:

On that occasion Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello was ordered to surrender his lead to Michael Schumacher, and did so within metres of the line.

Whatever team you’re supporting, the sight of an F1 race being fixed in such a blatant and unsporting way, especially if you’ve paid hundreds of pounds/euros/dollars to see it, is going to rankle.

I don’t think I’d be moved to boo a driver I didn’t like, but I probably would have joined in the booing on that day if I’d paid moeny to see that race. They were even booed by the press in the post-race conference.

Would you boo at an F1 race? Have you booed at an F1 driver? If so, who?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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46 comments on “Would you boo at an F1 race? (Video)”

  1. I booed at the Spanish crowd that booed at Hamilton during preperations for the race at Barcelona. I thought they were acting very childish. Does that count?

  2. The only instance that I would have booed at a race would be either at Indy 2005 or A1 Ring 2002.

  3. I was in Austria 2002 and it was incredible how many people bood, even my girlfriend and I bood because Rubens was really fast, i was even telling my girlfriend that it was more logicall to forget a tyre in the garage so the Schumacher could get his advantage and then it happend.

  4. I booed at Hamilton being towed from the gravel at Nurburgring 2007 – was really unfair: there were 2 or 3 more cars near him, but noone got the same service

  5. Likewise ukk.

    Oh and I boo everytime Hamilton wins, but that’s just my own pettiness.

  6. I’m in absolute awe of F1 drivers so I personally wouldn’t boo (actually that’s not quite true, I may well do so in the case of Michael Schumacher).

    I can understand why people do boo, though; F1 is a bit like a pantomime where the driver who gets your full support is the hero and his main rival is the villain.

  7. Jonesracing82
    28th August 2008, 9:23

    like the ****** in the alonso vid jeering and carrying on then asking “is that alonso or fisi”.

  8. indeed kester and UKK, the ongoing joke in encyclopedia’s (such as wiki) is that young lewis has a pet crane that helps him win races.

  9. haha Alex Cooper, so true, didn’t anyone tell Fisi at Suzuka about kimi “HE’S BEHIND YOU!”

  10. I think it’s all in the atmosphere. Home turf is great when your competitors get an earful. I know sportsman who enjoy it, and sometimes perform better because of it. Kevin Pieterson playing against South Africa is an example. South Africans love to hate him… but for him and the fans alike, it’s all in the fun. They share jokes if he’s ever near the boundary… nothing malicious. When it is malicious, then it’s unacceptable. Alonso and Hamilton acknowledged this. Keep it clean, and keep it fun!


  11. a bit off-topic, but a funny crowd reaction again from Nurburgring 2007:

    A new chicane was introduced in 2007 which was named after Michael Schumacher (btw, Ham crashed into it on that Saturday ;-) )
    The new chicane was to be announced before the race, by Michael.
    So the organizers announced “And now Michael Schumacher will uncover the new Schumacher’s S!”
    Try reading it loud and you’ll understand why the whole crowd bursted into laughter :-)

  12. Great anecdote, ukk! These are the bits of coverage we don’t see on the telly. :)

  13. Disclaimer: I’m English, but I live in Melbourne, Australia.

    The incumbent natives have this rather bizarre sport they call football..AFL (although they rarely use their feet)

    Booing is all part of the game for the supporters. They actually consider it some kind of audience participation. “The power of the BOO.”

    So when the opposing team is lining up for a goal, all of the supporters crack out the biggest round of booing you could ever possibly imagine, in the hope that the kicker is put off his aim. It’s all part of the game. Quite amusing though, in context.

  14. I boo Alonso every time he comes on screen, because of how he screwed over Lewis last year

  15. The other Pope
    28th August 2008, 12:52

    I boo Hamilton every time he comes on screen, because of how he and Dennis screwed over Fernando last year.

  16. Senna was booed in Brazil when he spun off in practice 1, in his last Gp at home.

    Schumacher, last career GP in Brazil, there was that apposite of boo, like a crowd futball ahh! every time he overlooked somebody or for something less then that in the race.

  17. I take a lot of enjoyment from F1, the good and the bad times, espically towards whoever I am supporting as a team/driver.

    I do see a lot of entertainment in the characters that F1 generates, they are our Hero’s and Villans, whic provoke emotion. I will admit I Boo (with my tongue in cheek) if my favourite driver has been beaten by his Nemesis, or if they have done something controversial, but only on those grounds. I have never boo’ed out of spite or for personality reasons. I admit to booing as I cheer as much for the winner, so for every emotion I experience there is an opposite should the result be round the other way. However when I am at a race I am more reserved as I am aware my behavior can influence others, and the world is watching me (well not just me)

    If I was at Indy 2005 when the race was a mockery because of the tires, I would have booed the Fia for not reaching a sporting agreement to the problem, in order to make a statement.

  18. @ James, post 13:

    I am an “incumbent native” of Western Australia, but I do not take offence at your comments, as I share your view that AFL is bizarre. I’ve never liked it (now that’s bizarre! ;) ). But, if AFL wasn’t so “bizarre”, then maybe I wouldn’t have found F1! :D

  19. personally i wouldn’t, it just seems silly and why “boo” when you can rip them to shreds in the blogs and forums-right? however, i was in canada in ’98 or ’99 when schumacher came out of the pits and nearly took out frentzen. all three stands at turn 2 were full of fans booing michael–even the ferrari fans. that continued for a couple more laps every time michaal came around. it was pretty funny.

  20. i’ve read on other forums that in one stand people where making
    monkey chants at a black man who was wearing a mclearn t-shirt.
    i was at the race, but i only heard booing whenever hamilton came up on the screens.
    but i did wonder what would have happened if he had won the race.

  21. I have been to many motorsport events, including three grand prix and countless tests, and I have never booed anybody.

  22. Here in Brazil we are professional in the art of Boo. One of the gifts in been a Football nation!

    When this is not enough, we, in fact the hooligans whom think Formula 1 is like football, throw tomatoes in the track, as it did in… I´can´t remember the year, but it was against Balestre after he almost not permit Senna to race in 1990.

    What a shame…

    Alonso, who is not very popular around here, was presented with some boo here last year!

  23. I boo everytime Massa and Hamilton win because they always light fuel to get pole.

  24. I would not do this at a race. I am a Formula 1 fan and I enjoy good racing between all the drivers. I do tend towards certain drivers but enjoy good clean aggressive racing and am always keen on the folks lower down the grid joining podium whenever they can.

    I’m just keen to know how long Alonso is contractually not allowed to say anything? When will the truth between Alonso and McLaren finally come out? F1 has too much politics but then its not surprising with the vast amounts of money at play.

  25. I booed with the Spanish crowd at hamilton when I went to Valencia and Barca. I am a huge Alonso and Ferrari supporter and whilst at Spain you just cant help it!
    I have never booed anyone else at a grand prix though, generally I dont like booing people – it is just not nice.
    Well actually thats not entirely true, I have no problem booing hamilton everytime he wins!

  26. lol Amy, you sound exactly like someone I know.

    I booed Hamilton when he could’ve crashed into the Kubica’s BMW as opposed to actually crashing into Kimi. But it was a no win situation for him, I would’ve booed him had he crashed into Kubica anyway.

    Long term rival…championship rival? Long term rival…championship rival? Long term rival…champion-d’oh!!

    (Yes, I know he didn’t mean it.)

  27. AmericanTifosi
    28th August 2008, 16:57

    I don’t boo, I yell.

  28. I would have booed MS & RB in 2002. I remember saying they at least didn’t have to do it so dramatically right at the line like that if they were going to do it. I probably would have booed at the, i think, Indy event (not the tires one) where MS slowed right at the line so they could have the closest 1-2 finish ever and RB actually accidently ended up ahead and won the race. I was laughing at home, maybe I would have laughed there too. I think we already have a hard enough viewing F1

  29. …hard enough viewing F1 as an even playing field without the drivers and teams making a complete mockery of it. Those are the clips that make all the news channels and make F1 look silly.

  30. I personally don’t feel that booing is very sportsmanlike. I always cheer for and support my favorites, always love to see the underdogs have some success, and will cheer a great maneuver by any driver. I always applaud the podium finishers as they receive their trophies, whether I like them or not. Whether it was that day, or in the many years of their career leading up to it, they worked hard to get where they are and earned it.

    If I see something I don’t agree with, I just keep my mouth shut. that’s usually when you realize that everybody else in your section is a fan of the other driver involved, and you’re about to get beat!

    What really makes me sick are the fans who seem to be into throwing things out on the track (one of the reasons I gave up watching NASCAR, as that has become quite commonplace there and nothing is being done about it). That is pathetic, and a great display of total ignorance and disrespect for the competitors and fans. Booing might hurt someone’s feelings, but a full beer thrown from the upper stands can could seriously hurt or kill someone.

  31. I was at that Monza raced too, and cheered like crazy when I seen Alonso blow up, cause I am a huge Schumi fan, but def not booooo, I cheered cause it blew the championship wide open, and it was also the most emotional race ever….hmmmm dreamy moment….

    I witnessed fans boooo Schumacher in Montreal, and I have to say I was ashamed to even be in the same stand as those fans, there seemed to be a full section booing…it was after the Monaco incident, where Schumi was clearly innocent!!!

    I dont think anyone deserves to be booed, we afterall humans..

  32. LOL – fun little thread. It’s actually comforting to know that F1, as a live event, still manages to generate enough passion do induce the crowds to hoot and whoop as the story unfolds. Good humoured booing in ‘enemy territory’ is no more harmful than unfettered adulation at home victories IMO. Providing it IS just good natured – bigotry obviously should have no place in any civilised society, but I doubt that anyone here would disagree on that point.

    Sport should be about heroes and rivalries. F1 is generally acknowledged to be the pinicle of 4 wheeled motor sport. The players are amazingly good at what they do, but are all hardened pros’ blessed with bank balance’s and lifestyles we can only wonder at. Long may the crowd cheer and jeer!

  33. Funnily enough, the only person I have booed at, at a GP was a so-called fan who heckled Kimi whilst he was signing autographs.

    I have LMAO at Montoya spinning it right in front of me on the formation lap of the 2007 Oz GP. And I beleive I raised the roof cheering when Schuey put it into the wall in virtually the same place, in the same race. But boo?

    Unless there was obvious unsporting behaviour – like an Indy 2005 I don’t think I would boo. I think the term ‘good natured booing’ is a bit of any oxymoron. It’s always had malice when I’ve heard it, particularly in a sort of tribal mentality like sports spectators. Or maybe, James and Stealthman, I am just scarred from AFL crowds :/

  34. I have never booed any driver or F1 situation, either on TV or at a race. It not only can be off-putting for drivers (I know they can’t hear me from my living room, but the principle remains…), but puts me in a poor frame of mind for enjoying the rest of the race. Plus it just feels wrong to behave like that.

    I may complain at length if something stupid happens (and have screamed at the TV once or twice when something really bad has occurred), but it would be unseemly to shout too loud about it. After all, in F1 things can change very quickly and there may turn out to be nothing to complain about five minutes later (or sometimes more to moan about, but that’s another story). If the race ends and still nothing’s been done about the complaint-worthy thing, then I go complain on the internet. Hopefully by then I have some sort of perspective about the matter and know why I’m unhappy instead of just coming out with a somewhat-incoherent-feeling one-syllable reaction.

  35. I booed at the TV set at Indy ’05

    I booed the the Hamilton/crane fiasco(not Hamilton directly)

    …and the whole Austria ’02 thing is a slap in the face to all F1 fans…BOOOOOO!!!

    I booed LOUDEST when the stupid safety car rules kept Heidfeld off podium and handed it to Piquet Jr. just this year!

    But,I give the drivers proper respect.

  36. Yeah, I boo, I boo all the time!

    – U.S. G.P. 2005… BOOOO!!!!

    – Austiria 2002… BOOOO!!!!

    – Raikkonen – Sutil, Monaco 2008… BOOOO!!!!

    – Hamiton – Raikkonen, Montréal 2008… BOOOO!!!!!

    – Schumacher – Villeneuve, Jerez 1997… Uber Booo!!!! (yeah, I am Canadian.)

    – Schumacher – Hill, 1994…. BOOOOO!!!!

    – Senna – Prost, Prost – Senna…. Boooo!!!

    – Banning Tunned-Mass-Dampers, BOOOO!!!!!

    – Pierre Houde messing up some call or other, BOOO!!!!!

    – Hamilton China and Brazil 2007, BOO BOO BOO BOO!!!!!

    – D.C. vs. everyone he ran in to this year, Boo!!!

    – Villeneuve vs. BAR, Honda, Renault, Sauber, BOO!!!!

    Maybe we should come up with a Yaaaaaaaa!!!!! list.

  37. I boo when I turn on my shiny new 50″ plasma HD TV to watch the F1 and am confronted with an awful SD picture….. BOOOO!!

    Is it Bernie, or is it the host countries feed, or is it my local network, I don’t know, but seriously this is 2008 and we’re not all watching 48cm CRT tvs.

  38. “The only instance that I would have booed at a race would be either at Indy 2005 or A1 Ring 2002.” – M Smith, post 2.

    I second that.

  39. Shahriar Ahsan
    29th August 2008, 19:11

    ya… booing is a natural act ot subconsious mind while a person is involved in a sporting event :p

  40. yeah, boing just shows how enthusiastic you are about a sport, you care enough to boo like you would care enough to cheer! FORZA FERRARI!

  41. I was at Indy in 2005, I booed long and I booed hard!

  42. The only time I have ever booed during a race was whilst watching the Adelaide race back in 1994, just after the Schumacher/Hill confrontation. My lasting memory, is of Schumacher waiting by the side of the
    circuit, peering through the safety fence, waiting for Hill’s Williams to reappear.
    Ofcourse, it never did! When Michael realises this, a wry smile emerges on his face as is confronted with the fact that he is now the world champion.
    For me, the agony of 1994, and everything Hill and the Williams team went through, was just too much for me.
    To see them cheated out of it like that, was very hard.
    I am ashamed to say that I destroyed a perfectly good television after that race, I was so gutted.
    I felt alot better, three years later, seeing Schumacher fall flat on his face at Jerez, attempting to pull the same trick on Villeneuve.
    That time, my screams were of joy, and my tv survived for another year.

  43. I’ve boo’d sitting on centre course at Wimbledon, I definately think there should be more booing in tennis, it’s far too polite.

    As for F1, I’ve only ever been to one race (2005 British Grand Prix), and I was far to happy to be there to think about booing anyone. I think JPM won that day (I was sat at Club, I had no idea about what happened elsewhere on th track, and when) so definately no need to boo there.

  44. I don’t like booing drivers or teams, but I cant stand when people rejoice at accidents – like when Schumacher broke his leg at Silverstone. There were people in the grandstand dancing around! I’ve never really been a fan of his, but that behaviour is a disgrace.

  45. I’m a fan of the sport, not the politics behind it. I love racing and I have done it since I was young. I won’t boo at a driver, but I will certainly boo for foul play.

  46. I turn the TV off just before the end of a race if f are about to win. I’ve never watched a f victory on 20+ years.

    As for booing I’ve never booed at a race, but I shout and cheer every time a f crashes or blows up. The greatest moment was watching from the grandstand as schumacher crash into the wall of champions. The loudest noise I have ever heard* was the cheering crowd.

    * I work in military aviation, the cheers put the noise of an afterburning jet to shame.

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