Verstappen proposes ban on broadcasting team radio

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says F1 should consider not broadcast radio discussions due to the possibility they could involve swearing.

Following the row over Sebastian Vettel’s comments about FIA race director Charlie Whiting on the radio in Mexico, Verstappen said drivers are always at risk of using strong language in stressful situations during races.

“When you are in the heat of the moment and you have a radio available, you can say bad things,” said Verstappen in today’s FIA press conference.

“But it’s the same, let’s say, if you give a microphone to a football player. Imagine how many words are coming out there in a game – or another sport, it doesn’t need to be football.”

Formula One Management already censors radio messages which contain swearing. However Verstappen proposed going one step further and not broadcasting them at all.

“I think with the radio around you, it is pretty dangerous. I think that maybe you shouldn’t broadcast it, that’s another solution.”

“We are driving on the limit in some good fights and the adrenaline is going really high. So I think maybe for the future, if it is bad for the younger generation, then just don’t broadcast it.”

“I’m prepared just to forget it and move on”

Whiting says he considers the matter with Vettel closed following the Ferrari driver’s apology after the race.

“It’s not the first time bad language has been used, of course, and the fact it was directed at me was unfortunate. I think there were a number of mitigating circumstances which led up to Sebastian’s obvious frustration.

“But the fact he sought me out very shortly after the race to apologise, for me that was enough and I’m prepared just to forget it and move on. I think that’s really what we should do.

“Things happen in the heat of the moment and I think you’ve seen what the FIA’s position on this is and I personally feel that that’s enough.”

Vettel said he was “sorry for what I said” on the radio. “When you are racing, you are fighting, you can understand why I wasn’t so happy at that point. For sure I regret what I said.”

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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    45 comments on “Verstappen proposes ban on broadcasting team radio”

    1. Would the direct swearing at another person over the radio be more acceptable if it wasn’t broadcasted?

      1. Considering that is FOM is who decide what they broadcast … From audio.. to cameras shots.. so I kind of agree with max.. not entirely ban the broadcast.. I think they shouldn’t complain about bad words and the image of the sport when they’re the responsibles

      2. I think Max talks about giving an example to kids. “Dad why is there a beep every other word?”

        Personally I teach my children that context matters: if you hit yourself with a hammer it can happen that you utter foul language. But when you’re in a restaurant talking that way is forbidden.

        1. @coldfly @verstappen I’m genuinely puzzled why this is a concern at all given that FOM censor the swearing out. As long as the word is being bleeped they’re fine from a broadcasting point of view.

          Does anyone really find the current arrangement objectionable? I’d like to know why if so.

          (Aside from the rare occasions where FOM have missed words they usually bleep, which has happened a couple of times this year.)

          1. Children Will ask why the bleeping and learn that way that their Hero is using foul language. It doesn’t matter what word is left out, because of the bleeping they know. And in the schoolyard they will fill it in themselves.

            Just trying to make sense of Max’ view.

            To me, no problem, just reality but some people want to keep children innocent as long as possible. In my view they can leave the bleeps away.

            1. Children hear and learn a lot of it uncensored by just watching adults/teenagers around them, a few beeps in TV wont make it obvious as people claim it is…

          2. @keithcollantine Actually it’s much better in F1 than in other sport where they have tried to censor it. I have compared F1 with America’s cup before because they are both pinnacle in their respective field.

            They have on board camera with sound but the sailors are forbidden to swear or they will be fined. This is completely counter nature to me. It happens to have really bad moments and swearing is a mean like an other to release some pressure and move on. I think that containing that frustration is not good from a sporting view.

            All in all, I think that is in a good state for F1. We have a selection of delayed and censored messages which are totally acceptable. Even if I am a partisan of ‘this is worst to censor than leave it’ because you attract attention to it but I know it’s not allowed in every country.

            Nothing wrong there in F1 for once

          3. @keithcollantine, my point is actually that I find it objectionable to swear like that at the race director, irrespective if it’s being broadcasted or not.
            Swear at a person inside your helmet if you need to; but don’t push the send/broadcast button.

            1. The com is between driver and team.. FOM Is the one pushing the button of broadcast team com..

            2. Exactly @coldfly. The drivers know very well (especially since we have heard Vettel directly “talking to” Whiting numerous times in the last years) that the race director listens in on the conversation. We can take it as telling it to them in the face.

              Vettel should learn not to keep venting his frustration on air constantly. He seems to be amongst the most prolific radio cursers currently. I am sure many others curse, but if they do it on the radio, they want it to be known (as they have to push the button), that is deliberate.

      3. Depends on the people.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      10th November 2016, 16:09

      How about all team radio is broadcast – if you swear, it’s a £500k fine. I can guarantee they’d all stop immediately. Or alternatively, if you swear, you and your team lose 10% of the points gained to date. Put some emphasis back on the teams to control their drivers.

    3. Can’t tell without the video, but the quotes don’t sound like Verstappen honestly thinks they should ban team radio—more like he’s saying, “Oh, you worried about the kids? If you’re so worried about it, then don’t broadcast it.”

      1. Hopefully with a digital service this can be a non-issue and a G-rated stream can be an option that won’t include unsavoury messages. Then adults can choose get the full uncensored versions for a change :)

      2. Didn’t think of that. That’s more fitting

    4. Because viewers will see his trueself and not the polite interview-verstappen

      1. A driver pumped up with adrenaline is anything but its trueself.

        1. Except if he’s Sebastian Vettel obviously.

    5. No. But how about just giving the team a mute button for when their driving embarrassingly loses their sugar honey ice tea.

    6. It’s not a clever argument to compare it to football, or rugby, or cricket, or whatever other sport where there are microphones on the field. In those scenario’s the players can’t press a button to broadcast a message to the world, F1 drivers have the direct control and therefore responsibility over what they choose to be sent out.

      There’s nothing stopping them from not pressing the button when they want to swear, anyone who spends a decent amount of time on voice comm’s in a mature environment learns this pretty quick.

      It does make me wonder what these drivers are being taught by their teams to be honest… If radio communication skills aren’t one of them, that’s quite embarrassing given their budgets.

    7. No Max, I don’t agree at all.
      “Leave me alone. I know what I am doing!”
      “GP2 Engine. GP2 Engine. AAAHHH!”
      I want gems like the above to be broadcasted far and wide. I will happily take the occasional bleep or two, as a consequence. Personally, I found Sebs rant funny, rather than offensive.
      So, unless racial language is used, let them away! ;-)

      1. So, unless racistl language is used, let them bleep away! ;-)

        1. Argh! Where’s the bleeping Edit button?????
          So, unless racist language is used, let them bleep away! ;-)

    8. Okay…. so one of the main reasons they brought back team radio is because fans enjoyed hearing it. He thinks it’s a good idea to not broadcast it? Brilliant. Well, if we can’t discriminate against him on the basis of age, we can’t blame his stupidity on it either. So, Verstappen isn’t ‘naïve’. He’s just not very bright.

      Besides that, if people suffering a kidney stone and women in labor can refrain from swearing, I’m pretty sure a competing athlete can class it up a bit too. If they actually wanted to.

    9. We should probably request that no video footage be shown either since drivers may make inappropriate hand gestures at any time. Yes, that will fix it. ;)

      1. @bullmello – what are you saying? Those were gestures of affection between Seb and Max after the chequered flag. It was the sign of ultimate courtesy: “After you, dear sir” “No, my good man, after you”.

      2. Lewisham Milton
        11th November 2016, 9:24

        Or just put it all on pay-TV until nobody’s watching or listening anyway.

    10. Radio messages makes it interesting for viewers. We get to know in more details about what the driver/team is thinking/doing. It gives so much more value than just seeing cars rotating for certain number of laps with the DRS aided passes in between. While fans would want complete open broadcast, it could put teams at a disadvantage. But at the same time if there is no broadcast at all, it would take out a part of what makes a Grand Prix more exciting. Currently we are in the middle path, receiving filtered messages. This is ok. As Max here is talking about no broadcast of team radio, there may be another extreme alternative that could be considered: completely cut off radio, even to drivers. It is risky, no doubt, but an exciting prospect too.

      1. As far as I am aware, all team radios are in the open, and have been for this year at least. All the teams do hear what all the other teams are saying to their drivers.

        1. I don’t think that is right. All team radios are open to be broadcast, but I seriously doubt all teams can hear what the other teams are saying to their drivers!

    11. Won’t somebody think of the children?” Wow – never thought I’d hear this argument in F1.

      Children learn to swear. Its a given. They pick it up from peers, older kids at school and the playground, and from adults. There’s probably no escaping it.

      As long as FOM bleep out the offending words to satisfy broadcast requirements, I couldn’t care less about a couple of bleeps coming up occasionally. I mean, kids are exposed to far worse in the name of music and TV.

      And I really don’t want to lose team radio from being broadcast – Formula 1 is a strategic team sport that involves communication, and as a viewer, I want in on those communications. This isn’t a whodunit.

      1. Yup, as most parents soon find out, their children already learn many more swearing words (especially the new and current ones) than they themselves would care to ever manage to stop them from hearing :-) @phylyp

    12. I think he was talking about the messages containing foul language only, not about banning team radio in general?

      IIRC he was asked what he thought about the swearing, so he said they could just choose to not broadcast those messages in case it’ll offend people or bring the sport into disrepute. The other messages are fine.

      1. Antoon van Gemert
        10th November 2016, 20:55

        Exactly, that’s what he meant. Not banning broadcasting team-radio completely! The title of this topic should read: “Verstappen proposes ban on broadcasting foul language”.

    13. I don’t know if it’s just that more driver messages are made public during races, but in recent years drivers seem to be giving a lot of lip against their mechanics and others when receiving messages. I seem to remember years ago the vast majority of advice drivers got from the pitwall was acknowledged with a simple “copy” or nod of the head. Nowadays almost every single driver heard to be taking advice or an instruction replies with some kind of aggravated, bratty retort.

      I know it’s not exactly new behaviour in F1, but it definitely seems to reflect this new age we live in where more and more of us have a misplaced sense of entitlement.

      1. @ninjenius, that said, I also have the impression that we heard fewer radio transmissions, say, 10 years ago – as the teams were quite resistant to opening up their radio communications to the wider world – so it is possible that, as a favour, FOM agreed to broadcast the less sensitive radio transmissions.

        Equally, I have a vague recollection that one former driver (Villeneuve possibly) mentioned that, when FOM began broadcasting more messages, they deliberately started swearing during some of the more sensitive calls because they knew that, at the time, FOM wouldn’t broadcast those radio calls. That suggests that perhaps some of the radio messages that were given in the past might have been more aggressive, but FOM filtered out those messages rather than broadcasting them to the public.

    14. LOL
      Yeah, because it is because of the sweating Max wants to ban the radio broadcasting. It has nothing to do with the fact that the immature little selfish guy doesn’t want his fans knowing that he disobeys his team’s orders and the judges orders.

      No, no not at all, it’s the swearing he’s concerned about – sure Max, sure!

    15. I don’t agree with Max, I think its good that we can see a little bit into the drivers mind during the race. I strongly dislike swearing on the radio but thats what the bleep was invented for.

    16. How about learning not to swear at all!? Is that impossible? I’ll always remember one of my teachers saying that swearing reveals there is a missing link in the chain of our thoghts. Lack of control as well. So, if you swear too much it is a witness that your mind is a huge emptiness. My observation regarding the quality of communication among people these days is an obvious decrease of tactfulness and politeness. Maybe, we’re stressed to much but in my opinion we can do better. Pilots in air traffic are stressed as well and swearing is extremely rare among them, because they know from the beggining of their carriers that it is not acceptable way of communication. F1 drivers should learn the same.

    17. Thx Keith!

    18. Is it me or does this child become the villain more and more everyday.

    19. Frankly, I don’t care at all if I hear some swearing occasionally, especially in the heat of the moment. No need to bleep it out. As long as there is not swearing in every third message, why bother? I think my kids can handle it as well. It is still going to be a lot better than what they hear in kindergarten or school Never really understood the American and British obsession that swearing should absolutely not occur on television.

    20. Swearing I can live with…bleeps included….but Seb was not just swearing, he was being personally offensive against Charlie…who is Number one in the stewards box and running the race…..still should carry a disqualification in my book….and if we take out team radio. the races will have to get a lot more interesting

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