Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Monza, 2019

Adults shouldn’t be cheering at crashes, says Ricciardo

2019 Belgian Grand Prix

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Daniel Ricciardo says fans need to appreciate the dangers drivers are exposed to and shouldn’t cheer crashes.

Following Anthoine Hubert’s fatal crash last week, Lewis Hamilton warned fans do not fully respect that “all these drivers put their life on the line when they hit the track”. Hamilton later said he made his remarks in response to fans who cheered when he crashed during practice at Spa.

Ricciardo said he understood why Hamilton had made the comments but also that it can be difficult for fans to appreciate the risks involved in racing.

“I heard Lewis’s comments were also related to when he crashed earlier that day. I think he said some people were cheering, obviously not Lewis fans, were happy that he obviously was out of the session. Whether you like someone or not it’s obviously not nice to cheer at someone’s downfall or mistake.

“But I think as well he obviously thinks the crowd assumes that [when] we crash, we’re OK, it happens and whatever. But it’s not like that.

“Every time you go on track there is a risk and every time you hit a wall, whether we’re OK or not, it still plays something on your mind if you crash. Every time you go back to that corner maybe there’s something psychological there. It does have an impact one way or another, physically or mentally. So I guess maybe that’s where he was coming from with that.

“I do agree with him but it’s also so hard because a fan, unless you race and put yourself in that position, can never experience what we do.”

“It’s just the nature of being a fan in a sport, you don’t compete in, it’s harder to really grasp or understand,” he added. “All we can ask for is if you’re a true fan and respect what we do, not only the skill but also the risk.”

Ricciardo said he’d never had the same experience as Hamilton. “I don’t wish that upon anyone,” he said. “I only knew it happened with Lewis because I read [it].”

“You don’t have to like every driver, but also to behave like that, you’d expect it probably from kids but not from adults,” he added. “If it was adults you just hope they would behave better I guess.”

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32 comments on “Adults shouldn’t be cheering at crashes, says Ricciardo”

  1. Why not? People see the difference between a regular F1 crash and a serious one. It’s a sport, people are passionate about drivers. That’s why the stands are filled and the money is flowing.

    1. No they don’t; particularly when the driver is in the tyre barrier. And lets face it, the vast majority don’t cheer at crashes. And even those who do don’t tend to do it during practice when all it does is negate track action whilst they recover driver/vehicle and repair barrier.

      1. No need to insult the F1 audience here. No, they don’t cheers about the crash but about the reduced chances of one of the athletes (you may not like it just like I don’t, but it happens in multiple sports) and yes they are capable of differentiating big crashes from minor ones. Lewis is being a cry baby (and before you guess… no I am a big Lewis fan, always have been from day one)

        1. Big crashes, and Seemingly minor ones have both taken lives. Lewis is speaking his mind and he is being reasonable, as anyone who has that view on this subject would be considered. The outcome of a crash is always unknown, which is why teams will immediately ask a driver following a crash if he is ok. Even when he looks visibly fine he, sometimes, goes to be checked. It is just plain silly to cheer a crash. Anyone who does it is either ignorant, or stupid.

          P.S. Saying fans can differentiate between a big crash and a small crash is an incredibly ignorant thing to say.

    2. C’mon man. I know you are a Verstappen fan, but surely you can see past the petty Verstappen/Ricciardo squables of last year. Not everything that Ricciardo says is wrong. And in this case he is right. Cheering mistakes and booing drivers is the domain of losers.

      1. Mick,
        I think this goes beyond drivers and specific crowds, Lewis was boo-ed at in Canada as well.
        Lewis is the frame of reference and the driver to beat, when he’s failing it will stir reactions… though I agree cheering when someone fails is the nicest reaction, but no one wishes them harm…
        Some fans (mostly Lewis fans obviously) adressed the crowd as childish… but we know what happened at racing day and those same fans all have an opinion of Max DNF… and they’re generally not to mild.

        You simply can’t controle the crowd, speaking of it… it seems the crowd was in full shock and silenced completely after Saturdays fatal crash… To ban out emotions is the last thing we should wish for to my opinion.

      2. What?? This has nothing to do with RIC or Max or who ever. This is just the way I see it.

        I don’t mind if you don’t agree ;-)

    3. Because laughing at a misfortune of others is not a passion. It is a stupid childish behavior.

      1. If you want to have fun in your life you can best avoid people complaining about childish behaviour.

        1. @anunaki I don’t expect you to understand what this means but…Schadenfreude.

          1. Sounds like what we in Holland call “leedvermaak”. Within the context of sport and rivalry I don’t mind it. My friends and I do it all the time. It’s fun

        2. @anunaki I didn’t think people from the Netherlands referred to their country as Holland.

          Within the context of sport and rivalry I don’t mind it. My friends and I do it all the time. It’s fun

          Please refer to my post on evolution.

  2. It’s an instinctual reaction, but a few seconds later, if people realize the crash has been worse than it initially looked they will quiet down.

    1. i think this is right. most fans, especially those at the track, are pretty well aware of the dangers etc. when schumacher crashed and broke his leg at silverstone in 1999 there were cheers from the crowd but they quickly stopped when it become apparent he couldn’t get himself out of the car. any fan, indeed any human who is still cheering when they know or suspect a driver is injured is a psychopath and urgently needs clinical help!

      1. Agreed and with @frood19

        Its all part of racing, if your supported driver suddenly gets a boost you cheer, the majority of ‘crashes’ in F1 are thankfully nothing more that the car damaged and a climb out. When it is apparent more than that then people fall respectfully quiet.

        The one I’m reminded of was when someone went over the top of Alonso, no one was cheering, people wanted to make sure no one was hurt.

        I understand there was a tragedy but we can’t expect everyone to change overnight to suddenly say every crash everyone is quiet until everything is OK.

  3. F1 is like any sport, of course people are going to cheer others’ misfortune. Cheering crashes that look like a serious injury might occur is different, but as above its an initial instinctive reaction.

    I would compare it to Steve Smith getting hit in the head in cricket, as soon as he might be hurt the crowd silenced and there is respect. I think it’s a little patronising to the crowd all of this tbh.

  4. People have been cheering death of others for thousands of years. That is why the colosseum was so big back in the day.

    1. Death is part of reality, wishing it away is not going to make it disappear. All you can do is accept it will happen to everyone and that it is normal to die.

  5. I dont think Ricciardo has attended MotoGP races where Rossi always encourages booing of his rivals and cheering crashes. I guess same crass fans have been attending F1.

  6. I don’t like cheering of crashes at the track, it’s obviously not nice for the driver involved but I think people need to realise that the majority of the time the cheers aren’t for the crash itself but the fact that another driver will gain from it.

    There was some commentary at the winter Olympics that attracted a lot of criticism when the British commentators were cheering skiers falling over but they later explained it wasn’t aimed at their accidents but the fact that the British skier was moving up a place each time to eventually get bronze.

  7. Morally, he has a point. But his opinion does smack of ivory tower. Maybe people shouldn’t be cheering at crashes, but they will never not do that. They’re coming for the entertainment, and nothing is more entertaining than the utter loss of control, the messy imperfection that is an accident. Seeing colourful cars flash past you at 300 kph , glued to the floor through improbably tight corners while making more noise than a Metallica concert (I have personal anecdotal evidence to back up that claim), is already pretty darn impressive. But it’s nowhere near as impressive as one of those cars suddenly spiraling out of control, revealing its beast-like nature and straying from its path to come much closer to you than it usually does. Cheering in such a situation is one way to cope with the excitement this brings.
    In 90% of the cases, this probably hasn’t got anything to do with wishing anybody harm. As for the 10%, those are the inevitable people that kind of suck. They’re there, no point in denying they exist.

    Also, I would like to differentiate between different types of accidents. I don’t think Ricciardo can be referring to Anthoine Hubert’s crash. That one just looked so bad that I can’t really imagine that people were still cheering when they saw the wrecks. There is that sort of accident that makes a crowd fall silent almost instantly. Think of Kubica’s in Canada, when half the world must’ve thought there’s no way anyone could walk away from an impact like that. Or Hamilton’s at the Nürburgring, when his tyre exploded mid-corner, his car took off and hit the barrier at a sickening height. Or Massa’s in Hungary, when he was knocked out cold by a metal spring.

    My impression is that he’s mixing up Hubert/Correa’s accident (bad, cheering would’ve been really inappropriate) with Hamilton’s in Free Practice (about as harmless as it gets). I can understand why Hamilton was a bit grumpy about that, but it really wasn’t a big deal at all.

    But I’d say there’s questionable middle ground between these two exemplary accidents. I can distinctly remember the 1999 German GP, during which Mika Häkkinen suffered a tyre failure on the approach to a chicane and hit the barriers at pretty high speed. Back then, 70% of the audience were dressed in red and shared a lot of similarities with the audience Verstappen is currently drawing to the tracks. Not only did they want Häkkinen to fail, their excitement was poportional to Häkkinen’s misery, and so their cheers were deafening. This was widely regarded as poor form back then, as Häkkinen could’ve been hurt in that accident. But I guess this just goes to show that this isn’t a new phenomenon.

  8. Didn’t virtually the entire pit lane cheer when the two Mercedes drivers took each other out on the first lap in Barcelona a few years ago? I don’t see how that is any different to this.

  9. You know evolution is an amazing thing, the fact that some still get excited by seeing others suffer or die proves that some evolve slower than others…natural selection in action.

    1. Please don’t use the moral superiority card, especially when the fact are wrong

      Lewis wasn’t suffering and no one cheered while someone was dying.

      1. @anunaki Please refer to my reply to your other silly post.

      2. Well the most silly post I see in this thread is yours about evolution. Or maybe it’s the fact that you don’t think I understand what Schadenfreude means. I speak 4 languages like a lot of educated people in the Netherlands do.

  10. Every crash I’ve ever seen live (when attending the Montreal GP) has first been followed by SILENCE from the crowds, or a collective gasp, but never cheering — not until the it is clear that the driver is okay… that is when the crowd cheers.

  11. I’ve been to Hungary and a couple of different British tracks for races, and have noticed some differences in attitude to crashes – not just from place to place, but series to series. Occasionally from series to series on the same race weekend in the same venue.

    In particular, the less well-known a series is outside motorsports circles, the more likely that a particular crash will be met with the sort of response Daniel is implying he’d expect – silence, intakes of breath, surprised or disappointed/sad noises, depending on context (as a general rule, the sound mix goes more towards the latter, the less serious a crash looks and the more warning there was of it being in prospect).

    Laughter, mockery, booing and cheering of the Schadenfruede variety as initial crash reactions tends to be associated with people who are used to the sporting culture of other sports – notably football – and whose only substantial experience of motorsport culture is from Formula 1. In football, it’s common to cheer the downfall of a rival team or of one of its members, with the full understanding that the other side will react likewise to one’s own team’s/competitor’s troubles. (Though even here, there are implicitly-understood boundaries, which vary from place to place, as to the point at which common respect for shared humanity prevents this). It would be easy for people to carry this across to other sports they start supporting in general, and motorsports in particular, until given reason to believe a different attitude is more appropriate. After all, if one has learned a particular attitude works well in one sport, it’s a logical starting point with which to explore others.

    F1 has a better safety record than other series, and is also more international. Granted that the WEC/ELMS race I went to last weekend might not be the most representative example, but there were 4 separate crashes that resulted in injuries. It’s hard to get into the habit of cheering crashes when the difference between a “harmless” crash and an injurious one is known to be ambiguous (OK, it’s often possible to guess, but unwise to do so before it’s 100% confirmed) – and the memory tends to stick. Unsurprisingly, crashes did not make anyone think of how other drivers had benefitted, at least not before everyone was confirmed to be OK, and it showed in the responses. However, the non-F1 scene in different countries looks different in terms of what races there, the safety record of those races, and also how much participation they have from fans who also watch F1. A fan who is accustomed to drivers jumping out of their car straight after a certain type of crash is more likely to consider the sort of responses Daniel’s protesting if they see a crash that is visually of the same type, which is more likely to happen if they’ve never seen any counter-examples in that crash category (I’ve seen a few responses in this thread that could loosely be described that way).

    * – 3 broken ribs to one driver on Friday practise after a crash big enough to write off a SAFER wall section, then one driver got concussion and another got a hip injury in different, innocuous-looking crashes in the ELMS race, and a mechanic got a broken toe in the WEC race after being hit by a sliding car in the pits. There was a weird vibe in the ELMS race even before G-Drive’s hastily-created tribute to Anthoine was spotted by the pitlane commentator at the end…

    1. @alianora-la-canta – very interesting viewpoint, and I think you might be on to something that F1’s generally strong safety record has made viewers accustomed to drivers hopping out unaffected after a big crash (big visually, or big in terms of impact).

      Separate from Alianora’s comment:

      I get what Daniel and Lewis are alluding to, but honestly, when you get tens of thousands of people congregated at a social event like this, you’re going to get all types – those who respect the drivers for what they do, some who get caught up in the excitement but are later mortified at having cheered for something that could have gone badly wrong, and others who delight in the misery of others.

      Secondly, ignoring the risks and travails of others is a reality – which is both sad, and essential (otherwise we’d be paralysed). A day when I enjoy a spirited drive on the highway is not the day I’m thinking of the oil rig worker who’s risking life and limb, away from family, to extract petroleum; a day I don’t complete a meal because “I didn’t like it’s taste” is not the day I’m thinking of the farmer working his way through debt to get that food on my plate, the day I’m annoyed at a flight delay or cancellation is not the day I’m sympathetic to the stresses that air traffic controllers face day in and day out.

  12. What I find even more depressing is that these fans all leave the race when their idol drops out. I used to see the same with Schumacher fans. If he dropped out, then his followers simply left in droves.

    1. Bandwagonists will always be present, no matter the sport. They’re usually the most vocal, while simultaneously being the least educated about whatever sport it is because they don’t really care… only about who’s wagon they hopped on & have now become certified cheer-leading squad for (usually because they’re the same nationality & nothing more). & like you say, they always ride said wagon right back out of the sport whenever their compatriots leave. I tend not to take them seriously or engage with them too much because they only showed up for one reason & hardly ever bring anything of value to discussions other than praise for their guy & damning indictments against all the others. They’re not real fans.

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