Mercedes clarifies Bottas’s ‘Wuhan bat’ comment in Chinese social media post

2020 F1 season

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A joke made by Valtteri Bottas about the Covid-19 pandemic prompted a clarification from Mercedes on one of China’s largest social media platforms.

Bottas made the comment following Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix. He finished the race 14th, a lap down, after sustaining first-lap damage which contributed to six spins over the course of the race. The result ended his chances of beating team mate Lewis Hamilton to the world championship.

Following the race Dutch television broadcaster Ziggo asked Bottas: “If there was one day from 2020 you could skip from your calendar [would it be] today?”

“Today, yes,” Bottas replied, then added jokingly, “or maybe the day when someone bought a bat in Wuhan.”

The Covid-19 pandemic originated in the Chinese city at the beginning of the year. It is believed to have caused over 1.3 million deaths worldwide.

Following criticism of Bottas’s remarks on Chinese social media, Mercedes issued the following statement on the country’s popular microblogging platform Sina Weibo.

“Dear Chinese fans,” said the team, “as we all know, sport makes us emotional, particularly with the highs and lows brought by wins and losses.

“Last Sunday, Valtteri had a tough and disappointing race, in which he lost world title. He didn’t intend to offend anyone in front of the TV cameras straight after the race, and certainly meant no disrespect to China and Chinese fans.

“He still is the Valtteri we all know, he cares about every fan in China as much as we do, wishes each of you the best and to stay safe in such a difficult time, and carries the commitment to showcase exciting racing for all of you.

“We wish you [to] have a good week and look forward to the final races of the season together. Team China.”

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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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129 comments on “Mercedes clarifies Bottas’s ‘Wuhan bat’ comment in Chinese social media post”

  1. A quick polish job. But the apology should really come from Valtteri himself.

    1. I mean, his terrible insult was wishing Covid-19 wasn’t a thing that happened.

      That it originated from a Wuhan wild animal market and most likely a bat is pretty much been undisputed for a while now. I don’t think he needs to apologise for the reference to that. I mean, it technically happened in November 2019, and not 2020, so maybe that?

      1. We don’t actually know where it comes from; there is some link to diseases in bats and pangolins but it is by no means traced to this alleged wet market, which is a trope based on images – most of them, of a woman in a different country entirely in 2016.

        Chinese fans find the link offensive because the suggestion that bat soup kicked off the pandemic (and all the faked/falsely linked images of the alleged place it happened) is an extrapolation of a trope that Chinese food is dirty, from questionable origins or primitive/unhygienic. There’s an episode of Ugly Delicious that deals with this trope in the US (episode 6 in season 1 I think) but you can find lots of information about it and why it offends Chinese people with a quick google.

        China managed hygiene and contact control in the pandemic much better than the west, ultimately – with a 1.3bn population they had fewer than 10% of the UK’s COVID deaths The virus was first identified in Wuhan but the global nature of the pandemic is on everyone, especially as it now looks as though it could have been in many places undetected before it was found.

        So Chinese people get upset by feeling they are blamed for the virus, from their allegedly dirty/dangerous cuisine. It’s a harmful thing to repeat because Chinese people (or just people people think might look Chinese) have faced a lot of racist comments and some outright attacks over coronavirus, online and physically in real life.

        1. Maybe we should just hand control of everything to China already. It might save people from having to apologize, as China will vet/edit/delete content that may be “harmful and dangerous”.

        2. China managed hygiene and contact control in the pandemic much better than the west, ultimately – with a 1.3bn population they had fewer than 10% of the UK’s COVID deaths

          That’s exactly what the Chinese Communist Party has been promoting since the pandemic and apparently succeeded to do so. The Chinese management of the crisis was far from transparent since the beginning and their numbers are dubious to say the least.

          In fact, China is on par now with countries like Bahrain (1 million people), Georgia (3 million people), Slovakia (5 million people), Croatia (4 million people), Tunisia (11 million people) that were less exposed to the virus and some of them applied a stricter lockdown policies than China which doesn’t make sense. That said, I’m totally against the continuous offence the Chinese people are getting because of this virus.

          1. Countries where there was early, severe lockdown and a pre-existing culture of wearing masks to prevent disease spread, with enforced quarantines for travellers, have controlled it a lot better. You can see the same pattern across Asia. While the figures are probably massaged (and we know the UK’s are frequently wildly off/exclude anyone who dies in a care home, etc) the reality is that life is back to pretty much normal in China.

          2. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
            19th November 2020, 1:39


            the reality is that life is back to pretty much normal in China

            Really now? Please provide substance that this is the case and is reported from a non-Chinese source!

          3. @flyingferrarim

            I’ve lived in Shanghai since 2016. We have to wear masks on the subway and I have to get my temperature checked at the gate to my work and report my health status daily using an app, and if I went to another province and then returned I’d have to do the nucleic acid test to avoid quarantine. But other than those relatively minor things (compared with the rest of the world), my life is back to normal compared to when I came back to China in February.

        3. @hazelsouthwell This is confusing. In all the time I’d heard the Wuhan hypothesis (which remains the best hypothesis that has been developed so far, the others I’ve seen having been debunked by phylogenetics), I’d never heard of the bat soup hypothesis. (Your take makes the bat soup hypothesis sound gross, so I’m happy to have missed that). All I’d encountered was that the original patient (who got infected six weeks before the date of the person Wikipedia now lists as “patient zero” – which makes me suspicious about what happened re Wikipedia) sold bats and happened to have been bitten by a wild one on the way to the market one day – an unlucky occupational hazard of living in one of the many parts of the world where bats exist if one happens to need to travel through such an area by night. Nothing for China to be ashamed of, as it was not something human action could reasonably have prevented. (Thus, buying a bat would only be significant because of being the first human-to-human contact, not because there was a problem with the product being bought).

          1. @alianora-la-canta I haven’t heard anything as detailed as the specifics of a bat seller from a verifiable source. The bat soup trope is an internet rumour based on falsely attributed images, definitely not a hypothesis..

            Essentially we don’t know an awful lot about the virus, even now.

        4. Hazel, thanks for your comments here and on other topics (like Max’s over the top and offensive criticisms of Stroll). I appreciate hearing from you. Keep at it.

        5. @hazelsouthwell Well said Hazel. Even if the origin is eventually pinpointed in China, that doesn’t justify focusing blame for the pandemic on an entire people, much less exacerbating the ‘dirty food’ tropes (as though the US with its chlorinated junk food and the UK – remember BSE? – are any better when it comes to livestock and food controls). We’re all aware of the wider (and wilder) conspiracy theories surrounding China, the pandemic, 5G, etc. I don’t think Bottas was being malicious in the slightest, but I get why Mercedes issued a clarification.

        6. No the Chinese government threatened journalists when they were going to reveal that the virus was spreading. Chinas government carries a huge amount of blame for this virus spreading as bad as it did

        7. …is an extrapolation of a trope that Chinese food is dirty, from questionable origins or primitive/unhygienic.”

          This is an undisputed fact:

          Some Chinese people eat some undeniably disgusting food.

          1. @ryanoceros

            There’s a cheese you can buy in Italy that’s sold crawling with maggots but I suspect you don’t think all Italian food is dirty. Many countries have culinary traditions we’d find offputting today, it does not make Chinese cuisine (or any other) dirty.

          2. @hazelsouthwell

            ‘Clean’ maggots are also used to remove dead tissue from wounds. They are not dangerous to human health if handled hygienically.

            Your entire point of view is based on a strawman anyway. The objection is not that some food is ‘dirty,’ which implies an irrational and subjective disapproval, but that it is dangerous, based on objective scientific fact.

            And it is a fact that some food is more dangerous to human health than others. In the West we have taken all kinds of measures to eradicate BSE from our cattle, including a ban on selling bovine offal as food, to keep people safe from Creutzfeldt-Jakob. The US also bans sheep offal, which means that haggis is illegal to sell in the US. Unpasteurized cheese is also often banned, etc.

            It’s a fact that China has been allowing wet markets to operate. It’s been well established by virologists that these markets are high risk. They commonly feature animals that are a high risk for disease transmission (especially when sold alive), like bats. Note that bats have suppressed immune systems and are somehow able to function well while carrying many diseases.

            In general, the eating of “bushmeat” seems to be a source of some very dangerous diseases (and parasites). For example, Ebola and HIV.

            Of course, you can be in denial about these facts and attribute criticism of dangerous eating habits to racism (even though it is a fact that Western countries have forbidden and/or abandoned a lot of dangerous food habits that are native to our own countries, which we wouldn’t have done if this had been merely racism/xenophobia).

            Your use of your platform to prevent criticism of non-Western people for dangerous food habits, puts people at risk, and in particular those that you think you are helping. Africans eating apes caused the transmission of HIV to humans. Which continent suffered (and suffers) most from HIV? Africa.

            Note that a lack of food safety in places like China is not merely a belief by ‘racist’ Western people. There has been a lot of grey import of baby formula from Western countries to China, as tainted baby formula has poisoned hundreds of thousands of Chinese babies. This resulted in a lot of Chinese losing trust in their local supply, so they prefer much more expensive grey import from markets with better regulation and more trustworthy suppliers. Do you think that these Chinese people mind if Western people put pressure on the Chinese government to make their food safer? Note that China reacts extremely harshly to Chinese dissent, so we can do so far more safely.

            I reject the idea that I should not comment on dangerous habits that make people suffer and die, because it is somehow ‘racist’ to do so. Get your priorities in order, Hazel. Human lives matter.

          3. @aapje

            I worked on the 2014 ebola response; tracing that to bats was very easy. It was done within months, to the exact tree we believe the outbreak started at. This has not happened with COVID; there is no determined link to the market, beyond it being the site of possible mass human-to-human contact. We do not really know where it came from, which is part of the problem with handling the crisis globally.

            “Wet markets” are just markets where meat and fish are sold, Billingsgate in London would classify as one, there are lots across the whole globe. Food standards differ across many countries but to cite the US as one with high ones is extremely poorly informed.

            If you want to know more about the perception of Chinese and Asian food as dirty, the Ugly Delicious episode I mentioned above has a really good examination of it.

            This isn’t an instance of the Chinese state objecting, it’s Chinese F1 fans, directly to Mercedes’ social media. You don’t have to be convinced by that, of course but to dismiss people vocally expressing that they do is not helpful to your arguments.

          4. @hazelsouthwell
            I’ve never been to Billingsgate or a chinese wet market but what is pretty common knowledge is that chinese wetmarkets are unhealthy and dirty, some extremely so. This is a result of many reasons, one being that different animals (domestic and wild animals, legal and illegal) are there in tight spaces, sometimes in cages one on top of another. This makes it dirty because you could have chickens in cage above a raccoon cage. The raccoon keeps biting the feet of the chicken and the chicken drops of fecies on top of the raccoon. Multiply that by a million and you have thousands of different species that never come together in nature mingling in close proximity in dirty environment together with dead animals. There are wet markets and there are chinese wet markets. Even the chinese are aware of this and have closed down some wetmarkets.

            This is not an exaggeration. Chinese in general have very little care for animals. The animals are very poorly kept and sometimes in constant suffering. Totally different to billingsgate and in my mind it is very poor taste to even compare the two.

          5. @hazelsouthwell It’s true that it still no verifiable link sarscov2 is coming from bat. But that can be only mean two other sources. Either it’s man-made or it’s a decade old mining cave virus that leaked from Wuhan lab. And both are far more damaging to Chinese government, unless you believed it man-made in Fort Derrick and brought to Wuhan from US by war games.

          6. I worked on the 2014 ebola response

            @hazelsouthwell, did you know that ‘Ebola’ is a reference to the Ebola River in Zaire (now DR of Congo) and we still don’t know from where it originated; bats are just a possible/likely source. (source)

            Not too dissimilar to what we know about SARS-CoV-2, yet people don’t get as upset when using the geographical reference or identifying bats as a possible source.

          7. @hazelsouthwell

            China initially tried to cover up both the previous SARS outbreak in 2002/3, as well as this latest outbreak. In both cases, we have whistleblowers exposing this and other evidence of an attempted cover up.

            I have no confidence that the Chinese state actually wants to find out the source, especially if it is an animal sold on the wet market, because they’ve been criticized before for keeping those open. So if they would point to that source, their own failures would be exposed, which would harm their reputation. The Chinese government is extremely sensitive to bad PR (probably because they are undemocratic and fear new uprisings).

            This isn’t an instance of the Chinese state objecting, it’s Chinese F1 fans, directly to Mercedes’ social media.

            The Chinese are pumping out a ton of propaganda to their people, feeding anti-Western nationalism with lies. For example, by claiming that COVID-19 is an American biological weapon. So of course you have Chinese people getting angry at Bottas for associating it with China, because the Chinese state has misled them into thinking it is a Western bioweapon used to attack China.

            Furthermore, the Chinese state has extensive censorship of their social media, discouraging people from sharing ‘wrong’ opinions.

            You are really naïve if you think that criticism on Chinese social media reflects the opinion of a well-informed Chinese populace who are free to share their opinions.

        8. @hazelsouthwell I didn’t know CCP propaganda has made its way in here too… I all of a sudden do not want to read anyhting from you anymore.

          1. Seems to be a recent trend for Hazel. Maybe she has taken inspiration from Lewis and is deciding to “use her platform”
            Bravo Hazel, Bravo.😅 Chairman Jinping will be very proud.

        9. Get out of here with your facts and logic…

        10. Wow. You are quite the left wing activist arent you Hazel.
          Bat Soup! Wonder why that never made it’s way west? Sounds positively delicious🤧😵

        11. Personally, I find your defence insulting. This was quite a funny joke, merely stating that he wished the COVID virus hadn’t happened. The fact it originated in China and almost certainly from Wuhan, is not disputed by anyone in the world other than the Chinese media. Your response, along with Mercedes, is completely unnecessary.

          1. Perhaps @keithcollantine should issue a polished apology to all of his valued subscribers for @hazelsouthwell comments, like Mercedes did for Valterri? I’m waiting……..

        12. There’s also the virus research center located there…. but best just leave sleep bats lie.

      2. The fact that you think it’s undisputed means you haven’t been keeping up with the story.

        1. @passingisoverrated +2 very clever, laughing my horse off

      3. That it originated from a Wuhan wild animal market and most likely a bat is pretty much been undisputed for a while now

        Except that isn’t the case and Bottas’ lazy joke just serves to reinforce the idea that it is.

        The fact is we don’t know the actual origin of Covid-19, and it will likely never be found at this point. What we do know is that the earliest known mass infection site is the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, but that it could just as easily be a superspreader event caused by a previously infected individual who worked or otherwise was there in November.

        We categorically do not know it originated there and there are reports of the virus turning up outside of China pre November 2019 for example antibody detection in cancer treatment blood samples from September 2019 in Italy ( )

        Just as the Spanish Flu didnt originate in Spain it may yet turn out the source of Covid-19 did not orginate in China at all. Regardless as Asians or people of Asian descent have see a rise in Xenophobic attacks there’s just no need to make such comments and further hate.

        1. Given that the Wuhan market link was indicated as being mid-October (at least, it was when I looked it up back in March – I find it suspicious that the information has been removed with neither trace nor indication of why it is gone), it’s still the hypothesis for which the best evidence exists.

          1. @alianora-la-canta No, the Wuhan market superspreader event was in December, not October, and the research into the event was widely reported on through January.

          2. @markzastrow The Wuhan superspreader event and the Wuhan first-recorded-instance events were not the same (indeed, from what I’d seen, there was a 2-month separation between them). Some instances were recorded in November in the general region but not linked to a superspreader event (as would be expected if the virus at that point was with a relatively low number of people, each of whom spread to a small number of people. Super-spreader events are caused by “wrong place, wrong time, too many people” more often than “new virus rolls into town and immediately infects everyone”).

        2. Just as the Spanish Flu didnt originate in Spain

          I wonder if Mercedes issues a statement on a Spanish popular microblogging site whenever ‘Spanish Flu’ is mentioned.
          And what about MERS, West Nile Virus, German Measles, etc. etc.

          Why do we all get upset so easily?

      4. Interesting. In some parts of the world, if someone thinks this thing is “undisputed”, they would be considered as “being brainwashed”. Maybe widen the information source would be helpful to prevent being brainwashed.

        I believe Bottas did not mean to spread misinformation. But it is indeed a very bad joke, which could bring him and his team some trouble.

        1. It was not a “bad joke” it was his sincere wish on taking back a bad day for the world.
          If the CCP allowed inspectors into the Wuhan Institute of Virology we might know more. To Hazell and other CCP apologists – it is a fact that in December 2019 the CCP issued orders globally to buy up all the PPE and ship it back to China. If the CCP honestly thought the Virus was not a problem why do that ?? , why deny it was transmittable between humans and encourage Chinese to fly overseas and simultaneously stopping Chinese domestic travel. The CCP destroyed China’s image

    2. I guess it’s improper to make a comment or joke about anything these days then? What a thin skinned world it is.

      1. Which amazes me. World has changed in a few or more years. I’m not sure where these people were hiding 10-15 years ago. It’s not like they weren’t alive..

    3. Apology for what? Do you apologize for everything you say? Well, neither should he. Censor everything, deny as of free thought, of ability to speak, you social media Gods. No, we decide what we’re going to say. If we’re wrong about something – so what? Of course we’ll be, we’re human. If someone is offended by what we say, maybe we were insensitive, or maybe that someone should grow a backbone. In this case I don’t see a problem at all, first of all it was a joke, second it is based on real-life events and news (accurate news or not, nobody knows as of yet, but the information was published all over the world). What insults me here is that someone apologizes for speaking and I’m sick and tired of it, this must end. Brands that feel so weak just get a minus in my view. If Mercedes is against free talk, well, long live another car manufacturer.

      1. The irony of complaining about people complaining.

      2. Dex, the problem as I see it is the lack of communication between media bubbles, which is becoming a global problem. If many people on Chinese social media are offended, I think a response of some kind is better than no response. And if someone has been offended, the socially intelligent thing to do is recognize that offence was given, however unintended. That way channels of communication remain open. It provides the basis for future social interaction.

      3. petebaldwin (@)
        19th November 2020, 4:27

        Why should anyone care if it insults you if you don’t care if you insult others? After a big rant about being able to say or do whatever you want, it’s hilarious that you bang on about being insulted and feeling “sick and tired.” Maybe you should grow a backbone and stop complaining?

    4. I think it’s worth noting that while many people are interpreting this as an ‘apology’, we have not described it as one and nowhere in the statement did Mercedes say ‘sorry’ or similar. Saying no offence was intended is not the same thing as apologising. That’s also true of Red Bull and Max Verstappen’s comments regarding the language he used about Lance Stroll in Portugal. It’s only fair to hold both to the same standard.

      1. +1 Sadly a clarification is needed on a report about a clarification because too many people are unclear about that difference (or simply about how to read with some degree of attention).

      2. Maybe not, but you are splitting hairs because it amounts to the same thing. It is actually worse because it reinforces the norm of walking on egg shells to placate the CCP and validates their strategy of punishing anyone who even mistakenly appears to be criticizing China.

        1. I am looking forward to the Mercedes explanation/apology when Hamilton takes a knee for the Chinese Uyghurs. He will take a knee………Uyghur lives do matter.

        2. It doesn’t amount to the same thing.

          Clarifying a comment is about trying to make sure that what was meant in a statement was actually heard, without saying the audience misheard it directly.

          Apologising for a comment is about regretting what was meant in a statement.

          This is also why apologising for the wording of a statement, and apologising for how someone felt about a statement, are both lesser statements than apologising for the statement itself.

    5. There is no apology, just an explanation.

      1. In the US (and maybe elsewhere) almost anything said or unsaid will offend someone somewhere. There are mutually exclusive (often both well intentioned) groups wrt saying or not saying stuff on many issues. Anti-racist (in the if you don’t actively fight it, you are it, vein) vs don’t-see-color world views for example are opposite on what ethical expression even is. But most people living in both world views have ethical intentions.

        Therefore, a policy of addressing offense (apology, explanation, etc) per expression of thought will not scale. We are already exploding into, in my opinion pointless, overhead, which is mostly just to “look good”. Most of these apology/explanation cases involve no change of opinion or world view from who did the offending (and usually, do not merit a change of opinion).

        So, for myself, I prefer to just say my honest take on things, and only apologize or explain when I really had it wrong (which certainly does happen).

    6. Apology for what?
      His only mistake was the bat sale was in November 2019

  2. There’s literally nothing to apologise for here. Fair on him to make light of his situation on Sunday. But really nothing to get offended by. I presume it’s another case of corporates worrying that it could cause offence on behalf of the people of China.. very strange.

    1. Ah yes, but this is 2020. The year Homo Sapiens skin grew thinner and thinner.

      1. Correct @montalvo so many people desperate to feel insulted because it makes them seem important. Sad indictment on our world today.

        1. You seem to have a thin skin about people having a thin skin. A sad indictment of the world today

    2. Well when a country is trying to sue you on the basis that the virus originated from your country, any joke that seems to reaffirm such a reality will be taken in bad taste.

    3. Fair play to Bottas, he was just trying to bring a bit of levity to a very downcast interview.

    4. Its says a lot for the way that population is shielded from information,
      is it possible they really don’t know where the first cases were found?

      i’m surprise they have a social media worthy of that label.
      Would these commentator be state sponcered, or ordinary joes.

      1. Or perhaps by drawing Bottas on this point, they also seek to highlight his statement as a covert kind way of informing that population. Now that would be clever.

  3. I don’t think his joke was insulting. But I’m not Chinese, and I am aware that people, including the U.S. Current Resident, has racialized the pandemic by calling it the “kung flu” and other ridiculous things. So I can see why people might be a bit jumpy about these kinds of comments.

  4. That’s right, truth is just a matter of perspective. Like racing in dictatorial countries while fighting for a green image and equal rights.

    1. I still do not understand why F1 wants relationships with these barbaric countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, China, Turkey, Azerbaijan, or Russia. The governments must be paying good money to have F1 hold races in their countries.

      1. @ryanoceros Your second sentence answers your first. I don’t think it’s economically viable for a country to hold an F1 race without substantial government support, and unfortunately those regimes with questionable human rights records have both the resources and the political incentive to want to host an F1 race to improve their standing in the world.

  5. Much to do about nothing….


    1. And yet these seem to be the articles with the most engagement. I remember when I used to come to F1 sites to read about F1.

    2. here here ! Its all DRS’ fault, Ban the Wing i say,

  6. Ah the old “We sell a lot of cars in China and would like to continue to do so” apology.

    1. That’s the one

  7. ”… Valtteri had a tough and disappointing race, in which he lost world title.” C’mon..!

    The Wuhan bat is in the Western perception what’s happened. Why the apology, Daimler (10% in the Chinese hands of Geely), if that’s your driver’s belief – and what we are told in the Western world?

    1. Mercedes trying to insist Bottas had a chance at the title is more insulting to our intelligence than any joke he told.

  8. People should stop making a number out of such harmless trivial things. Everyone has a right to free speech. It was crystal clear that he meant it as a yoke in an attempt to make light of how badly the race went for him rather than trying to offend anyone. Some people can’t take jokes to any extent.

    1. Whilst I’ll agree with you that the bat comment and response is overblown, free speech is such a lazy term. You shouldn’t be able to go around saying what you like and cover it in the blanket ‘free speech’ tag, in the same way as I can’t go around doing what I like in a civilised society… that’s why we have laws! I can’t just go around hitting people in the street in the name of my rights to do what I like should I?

      It’s the same here, what we can and can’t say is dynamic and changes, but we have to try and find some common ground in the world. So to summarise, everyone doesn’t have “a right to free speech” @jerejj

      1. @john-h exactly. Just as your rights end where other people’s start, just “free speeching” everything is ridiculous. I always think people complain about “political correctness” in statements like these because they are not the “receiving end” of whatever has been said. If the places reversed, the same people would cry as loud as ever…

        1. Exactly @fer-no65. Going around the street offending people with abusive language for example is not someone’s ‘right’.

      2. Every one most certainly has the right to free speech.

        1. Please tell me what that means @ramjet.
          Please elaborate, you’re doing exactly what I just said.

      3. @John-h you must take into consideration the society Valtteri grew up in.
        In Finland, we literally have the freedom of speech. You are allowed to express your opinion, as controversial as it may be ,or stupid, intolerant, ignorant, wrong in someone’s opinion, or whatever.
        We don’t have a list of words or topics we are not allowed to talk about. This comes from history ofcourse, our language is pretty much incomprehensible to others and we are but a few million. Restricting communication between us has not been seen as a problem. This may come as a shock to some of you nippers, but this world as you know it opened up just a few decades ago. Freedom of speech also helps us weed out the chaff (or chavs, if you will) who express themselves publicly. We then know not to interact with them.

        1. That’s so refreshing to hear @uneedafinn2win. Is it still the case even today? No socmed mob to cancelled anti-mainstream voices?

        2. @uneedafinn2win), even in Finland ‘free speech’ has its limits when it can be seen as ‘hate speech’.

          And to make it clear to people who are not into Finnish language or laws I’ll reference Wikipedia in English:

          There has been considerable debate over the definition of “hate speech” (vihapuhe) in the Finnish language.[16][17] If “hate speech” is taken to mean ethnic agitation, it is prohibited in Finland and defined in the section 11 of the penal code, War crimes and crimes against humanity, as published information or as an opinion or other statement that threatens or insults a group because of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion or conviction, sexual orientation, disability, or a comparable basis. Ethnic agitation is punishable with a fine or up to 2 years in prison, or 4 months to 4 years if aggravated (such as incitement to genocide).[18]

        3. No need to be so patronising. I’m 40 years old, not exactly a nipper @uneedafinn2win

          By the looks of the above reply, sounds like you need to educate yourself on your own country around hate speech, and yes, I’m fully aware I sound patronising. I think it’s necessary here.

          1. Don’t seem to have called you a nipper, johno. A Plural You

            Ofcourse I’m aware of the debate about hate speech and limitations on free speech, but again do not miss the point.
            There has been, there is and there always will be discussion about this. Both or even more sides have and will be allowed to present their case.

            Bottom line: You ( once more, not a specific You, but the proverbial You) don’t get to say what I get to think, or, to say.

          2. Fair enough, the royal you it is.

            “We don’t have a list of words or topics we are not allowed to talk about.”

            That’s not true though is it @uneedafinn2win? And in your latter comment, thinking something is completely different to saying something in public. I’m not telling you not to say things, it’s the law in your country.

            Of course there is always a discussion, but countries have laws for a reason. That’s what laws are, and even outside Finland, international law also requires states to outlaw hate speech.

            Anyway, I’ve said enough. You live in a society I believe, maybe think about why we have laws in the first place.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      19th November 2020, 4:37

      That’s the problem with the ideas of free speech…. If people have a right to free speech, why shouldn’t they be able to exercise that right to criticise Bottas? Free speech doesn’t mean people can say things you like but not things you don’t. You either accept people saying whatever they want or you don’t – if you want Bottas to be able to say things that offend Chinese people, others can say things that annoy you.

      1. @petebaldwin the thing is that there are certain values that should be consistent to make society work, these are what laws are. Now the question becomes is it right to have laws that forbid certain types of hate speech that are deeply hurtful to some communities, I would argue that yes it is right to have such laws, just as it is illegal for me to run down the street with a baseball bat striking people at random.

        Sometimes hate speech can be as harmful as a baseball bat, not always, but sometimes, and that’s why for some things we need laws… not just allowing those who take offence to also be allowed to carry baseball bats in retaliation, or take the law into their own hands.


  9. “Please don’t ban us from your lucrative domestic market, Mr CCP.”

    Good to see the CCP apologists out in force in this thread too. Ni hao.

    1. The “Team China” comment from Mercedes was more cringeworthy than Bottas’ joke was offensive.

      1. Haha exactly!

  10. We live in a post joke world. Poor Valtteri did not get that memo.

    1. post joke world

      good one

      1. I, as someone who likes jokes, find that comment rather offensive tbh.

  11. There is nothing to apologize for.

  12. Ridiculous hyper sensitivity from Mercedes. Bottas essentially said he regretted the outbreak of Covid 19.

    We know the first reported cases were around Wuhan, it seems pretty likely patient zero came from somewhere nearby.

    We know SARS-CoV around 2003 came from Guangdong, China.

    We know that the hygenie and animal living conditions in Chinese wet markets is appalling.

    Whilst we should be considerate and careful not to offend people, we also need to recognise when things are being done in the wrong manner…

    …even if those people are of a different ethnicity or religion.

    1. Also, Mercedes aren’t apologising because they feel Bottas did something morally wrong, they’re apologising because they’re terrified it might cost them a sale somewhere.

    2. isn’t it more of a clarification from commercial point of view I wonder

  13. I see some comments about countries who applied a very strict lockdown with masks instantly coming off much better than the west. I see no one talking about Sweden…

    1. It’s interesting that we’ve seen certain prominent names claim that immunity from the virus only lasts a couple of months at best whereas if you look at the facts and the data it tells a very different story.

      Don’t believe everything bbc et al tells you. Just the other day in bbc news they were talking about another lockdown starting in March…

      1. *the possibilities of another lockdown

    2. That’s because it’s not all over the media Saad, we are only allowed to believe what we are told. No more questioning the system…you’ll be an Antivaxer/conspiracy theorist!!

    3. Actually comparing stats is not easy at all, it’s quite easy to have some out of context comparison. Real statistics is hardcore applied math, and that is quite challenging.

      Without many variables fixed from the likes of (or at least instead of fixing them comparing to countries having many many similarities based on this likely incomplete list):
      population density (but that’s still just an average, instead of taking into account what’s that made up from? gigapolises + largely uninhabited areas? / many small towns + villages? + some bigger cities? ), GDP, HDI, Gini index, percentage of GDP spent on healthcare, mobility of the population (affects frquency of contacts).

      And then let’s fix other variables to inspect it from a different aspect.

      As I see there are many other factors as well: it looks like poor countries are not reporting the worst stats, despite of their weaker healthcare systems, likely because many of their citizens having better fitness because of having to do more physical jobs than compared to citizens of the “first world”, and or many of them live a life what is closer to the nature, so something healthier in an old school way. I guess this aspect can be named ‘lifestyle’.
      There are many virus strains, and mutations, some regions are luckier with them, some are not.

      And leaders protecting themselves by falsificating or distorting stats are not unprecedented historically, and that practice is stlll going on, and will not extinct easily, so the trustworthiness of stats are at least questionable in some cases, even if we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or diminish other nations. There are nations without sufficient testing capacities to provide “real time” stats as well. Many of them not even have the funds or intention to fix this. There are countries where only severe or symptomatic cases are tested and largely they try to solve it via isolation and contact count reduction. And I have seen even more sad things: at the local retirement home now the sh** is so deep that they told to some nurses who already have corona, that they can carry on working on isolated patients in the home, who have it as well. I think around half of the low level staff having it already, and in the recent two or three days I started to hear news from locals that their relatives died in that retirement home, or after they were taken into hospital from there. At least 4 locals, and some others who I never known, because they are not locals, in a few days, these is the first news which came out from there for a long while. The home has something like 200 inhabitants, it sounds bad, especially because they already almost ran out of healthy staff, and they just will not get new ones in the poor countryside. It sounds bad, because apparently many leaders tried to solve it locally, the staff members were not really allowed to publicly talk about it, the major were not allowed to talk about it by the government. Would not it be a bad joke to allow the infected staff members to walk up and down in the village to approach the retirement home? But apparently they tried to do so, and not told it to the locals. While having an almost non-existent first wave here the major wrote reports on his FB profile everyday, but he did not say a word until yesterday during the much much worse second wave, he only advertised restaurants, and similar local tourism related companies of his friends ;) I guess that was for what he was instructed by the government, to be an ostrich. You see, it’s not coincidental, that I don’t believe in unproven people, mess like this is so common, and i’m living in a country which is financially belongs to the margin of the ‘first’ and ‘second world’, so there are much worse places, although there are more honest places for sure. The policies about producing stats, standards, and reference values are varying by country, so it’s hard to have a really useful, and not-out-of-context stat comparison.

    4. I’m really not sure what your point is about Sweden. Sweden has nothing to do with this article, but it’s true that their philosophy of not locking down the country early seems to have cost a lot of lives when compared to their direct neighbours. They are also nowhere close to achieving herd immunity if that was part of the strategy (herd immunity has never previously been achieved for any virus without the use of vaccinations).

      Ranking of deaths per capita by country:

      Sweden 21st
      Finland 79th
      Norway 84th

  14. Sorry for wanting a global pandemic never existed. OK…

    1. So we’re not allowed to ask “what if COVID-19 never, ever happened”?

      1. replying to jlb

  15. I think at this point people need to just stop giving honest interviews altogether and instead pick their answers from a list of UN – approved responses. Its the only way to ensure compliance.

  16. More importantly, isn’t it Bottas’ instead of Bottas’s.

    1. @peartree No. Bottas isn’t it a group of more than one Botta.

      1. @david-br I wasn’t asking. It is Bottas’.

        1. @peartree Hmm, ‘isn’t it’ is asking in most people’s English. The use of s’s is ‘disputed’. The Chicago Manual of Style (more or less the academic standard in the US) recommends s’s, while in the UK it tends to vary fairly widely.

          1. Jose Lopes da Silva
            19th November 2020, 16:43

            It it varies, I vote for Bottas’.

  17. Someone made a joke. Cancel them.

    1. no, that’s was funny

  18. Ah, pandering to an authoritarian regime. Truly the F1 way isn’t it.

  19. Everyone needs to calm the hell down. Literally nothing insulting about what he said.

  20. This looks like a typical PR cover up to ensure their brand image isn’t compromised. Let’s try and break it down.

    1) Mercedes Benz sells nearly 6-8% of their cars in China and has a significant production capabilities in the country.
    2) China is now one of the few countries and certainly the biggest country by numbers to have recovered the the pandemic faster and becomes even more of a critical market for the brand to generate revenues.

    I see a couple of arguments above on whether the C-19 started from a bat in Wuhan or not, which I think is pointless in this context where the statement isn’t as controversial as to be clarified but rather has commercial intentions to keep the market happy.

    Other diseases like MERS and SARS have their origination from bats as well.

    Finally, it’s sad if people are so intolerant that a sportsman, who’s irrelevant in a broader sense can offend a whole country to which it’s employer has to clarify a mere few words.

    It’s all commercial motives folks! Not to take it seriously.

  21. Why did Mercedes need to clarified that Sars-Cov2 is not originated from bat? Did they think it’s manmade?

  22. Nothing for Bottas to apologise for. He didn’t say anything controversial.

    If BLM upset China they wouldn’t be painting their cars black.

  23. F1 is full of so many apologists, desperate to not cause any upset whatsoever. Granted, there’s a clear commercial interest at stake but still, so many apologists, especially within the fan base.

    Grow a pair.

  24. Even when he got a flogging in the race , Bottas was still going to take one for the team, for the World in fact, Goodonya Val,

  25. It’s a wonder anyone from the drivers or teams even bother to speak to journalists after the race at this point. What we are going to end up getting is the same PR, PC spiel from each of them in-case they say a word out of turn, and who wants that? Hamilton already has it nailed down though.

  26. So is “what if COVID-19 never happened” a disallowed question then?

  27. This site has gone woke, time to cancel it…. :)

  28. How thin skinned are these people that they can’t take a simple joke? If that “offends” someone then I honestly don’t know how they make it through the day.

  29. Bloody Merc, chinese muppets… He is right but the $$ matter more.

  30. Imagine the backlash if Lewis had said it. Anyone that gets offended by that….god help you.

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