Ricciardo slates “idiots” behind F1’s social media output over focus on crashes

2021 F1 season

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Daniel Ricciardo has renewed his criticism of Formula 1’s preoccupation with crash footage.

The McLaren driver, who said last year he was “disgusted and disappointed” by F1’s coverage of Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash in Bahrain, is unhappy with the championship’s social media output.

“I think last year, F1 put on their social channels, like, ‘top 10 moments of the year’ or something, and eight of the 10 were crashes,” he said in an interview for Square Mile.

“I was just like, you guys are fucking idiots. Maybe 12-year-old kids want to see that kind of content, and that’s cool because they don’t know any better, but we’re not kids. Just do better, guys. Do better than that.”

Sebastian Vettel echoed Ricciardo’s criticism of F1’s Bahrain Grand Prix coverage last year, saying: “I disagree with the fact that you have to show the images over and over again.”

Ricciardo also disputed the presentation of his relationship with Carlos Sainz Jnr in the Netflix series Drive to Survive. He said the rivalry between himself and Sainz, whose place at McLaren he took this year, is exaggerated in the series.

“[In] the second season, there were some episodes or parts where I feel they forced it a little bit,” he said. “They tried to create a bit of a rivalry between me and Sainz and it wasn’t really there.

“Like, he’s no more a rival than anyone else. There wasn’t any personal grudge with him, but I think [Netflix] wanted something, so a lot of questions led with asking about Carlos.

“Maybe no one noticed, but for me, I was like, he’s fine. I’ve probably got other guys that I dislike, you know, as opposed to Carlos… I mean, he dresses like a 60-year-old, but otherwise he’s alright.”

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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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55 comments on “Ricciardo slates “idiots” behind F1’s social media output over focus on crashes”

  1. ”he dresses like a 60-year-old” – What is this supposed to mean, LOL? I don’t think Sainz dresses this way.

    1. It’s a backhanded compliment to Señor Sainz Snr.

      1. They did look very proper on the golf course…

      2. @didaho @skipgamer
        Now I get it. I mistakenly thought he meant clothing used in the paddocks. I should’ve realized he meant the golf course in one episode.

  2. Kinda weird that he didn’t have this reaction to Drive To Survive Season 1 when he’s was painted as the hero to Red Bull’s Management and Verstappen’s villainy. Was that not equally as dishonest?

    1. @aiii Fair point. I mean, I took both DtS seasons as ‘dramatic exaggeration’, not insightful documentary. But it does show Ricciardo, like anyone else I guess, sees things very much slanted their own way. I actually can’t even remember them showing any ‘rivalry’ with Sainz. My takeaway from this season was much more that DR does what he wants and s*d any contract or loyalty. I’m more surprised he didn’t defend himself from how he came across about dumping Renault, though he was shown to be fighting hard for the team still after jilting them and Cyril in particular, clearly feeling betrayed. Basically he comes across just as much honey badger / smiling assassin off track as on it. Not that I’d expect much different from a competitive and ambitious F1 driver.

    2. So Carlos does dress conservatively?

    3. @aiii Daniel was, I think, less concerned with how F1 was presented back then. The Grosjean crash seems to have made him more annoyed by such things.

  3. Broccoliface
    8th April 2021, 19:26

    The channels will go to where the views are. Obviously more than just the 12yr old demographic are tuning in if those vids are getting the footfall. I think its the inevitable conclusion of going on the charm offensive to massively increase the viewership, most of the people brought into the sport through social media wont be the guys glued to the long run pace and apex hits, they’ll want to be entertained by more of the flashing lights and smash-ups that they saw on that 15 second instagram video.

    1. The channels will go to where the views are

      Nah that’s rubbish mate, all sorts of terrible content has an audience. To say that because there’s an audience, it’s okay to promote horrible content is just ridiculous.

    2. I think Danny is exaggerating a bit. Unless I watched a different broadcast. F1 has always showed replays of accidents and pundits analyze them live. Whenever there is a horrible accident that results in someone being obviously injured, there are no replays. Remember when Jules Bianchi died? I remember being frustrated not understanding what the hell was going on.

      With Grosjean I could concede they showed the replays too many times. But it seemed more to be a relief to see Grosjean jumping out and clearly being mostly safe and healthy.

    3. @Broccoliface Crashes get views, but that doesn’t make it right for channels to indulge. Especially since a lot of those views are people who stick around for 10 minutes and then leave, because tailoring the view to them makes it unwatchable for people who watch the whole program continuously (even people who like crashes usually prefer variety, not the exact same one repeated as often as an ad segment).

  4. I think it’s a somewhat naïve take from Ricciardo. Assuming most F1 fans are similar to me (which may be a reach), we’re drawn to action, to speed, to human and mechanical performance and honestly, to danger. A climactic battle for the lead, a crazy first lap, a pit stop gone wrong, a blown engine at just the wrong time, an incredible pole lap and dramatic crashes are all part of what makes the sport irresistible to me.

    I’m not a sadist; I don’t sit watching and cheer crashes. To me, it’s immediately apparent when something bad has happened. When Grosjean had his accident I went deathly pale and barely spoke for the rest of the day. When Massa took the spring on his head I refreshed the news relentlessly until I was confident of his condition. These are not the same as the excitement I feel with incidents such as Albon being punted by Hamilton in Austria, or the first lap accident in the Sakhir GP taking out several key protagonists.

    The accidents and crashes are as much a part of the excitement of Formula One as a well crafted overtake or a pole lap and always will be. We know when it’s bad and generally I feel most people respect that until the safety of those involved is apparent.

    1. Great comment there

    2. Steven Lockey
      8th April 2021, 23:53

      A large part of it is the regulations have so destroyed F1, the crashes are the only entertainment left…. So many courses you barely see the positions change except for at pit stops and retirement

      1. Ricciardo becoming the flag bearer of political correctness

    3. The accidents and crashes are as much a part of the excitement of Formula One as a well crafted overtake or a pole lap and always will be.

      Each to their own but I disagree. Go watch a demolition derby if a crash is exciting. A crash is an unfortunate accident, and nothing more.

      1. Pretty extreme examples I grant you, but are the following “only unfortunate accidents and nothing more”?
        Prost/Senna Suzuka 1989
        Prost/Senna Suzuka 1990
        Schumacher/Hill Adelaide 1994
        Schumacher/Villeneuve Jerez 1997
        Vettel/Webber Istanbul 2010
        Hamilton/Rosberg Barcelona 2016
        Ricciardo/Verstappen Baku 2018
        Vettel/Leclerc Brazil 2019

        I agree wholeheartedly with Ben’s comment. As with most things in life there’s nuance and a balance to be found.

        1. Good clean racing is amazing to watch. It’s ruined to me when a driver can’t manage that and has to drive into their opponent. So yeah, unfortunate accidents, although most of your list I’d say weren’t accidental at all. I really dislike when one driver tries to cause a crash for strategy, that would be an immediate removal of license if I was in charge 🤷‍♂️

          1. And an immediate loss of audience ;)

        2. And only the Jerez 1997 one was dealt with.

      2. Difference between creating crashes and then happening as a natural result of the sport. It is not even like the old days where most results in horrible injury and death (and I agree with not showing those that result in bad injuries and death). We want crashes to happen without drivers being hurt while also not purposely creating them.

        Riccardo has a problem with that then he shouldn’t be on F1, cos a lot of us love crashes that don’t result in injuries just like we love overtaking.

    4. @ben-n Agreed and well said. What I would say to DR and SV is that in a big way this was a good news story and a testament to the strength and safety of the cars. I have no doubt whatsoever that if the outcome for RG had been far worse we would not have seen nearly the amount of coverage of the accident. That RG survived so relatively unscathed and as well have such a compelling account of his experience, is, well…compelling.

      1. “and as well ‘gave’ such a compelling account…”

  5. Only Facts!
    8th April 2021, 21:05

    Ricciardo’s life has been behind the wheel. Those media guys live behind audience numbers and online reactions.

    As a purist, like we all are, I’m on his side of course. I’m more interested in tyre blisters close ups, apex approaches, de-rating and break points. I even miss the thermal camera images from some years ago.

    But we purists won’t fill more than a couple of sheets of paper if we run a petition for the end of DRS.

    They know what they are doing, those media guys. DtoS has been a big hit in my opinion, and may bring new people to the dark side as they get to know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    Enough movie references, sometimes you have to sweet the coffee to get people to drink it. But once they do, they can’t leave without it.

    1. Crashes are part of F1. Footage of crashes are part of the broadcast and need to be displayed. Who doesnt want to watch it, should turn away or close their eyes. Danger factor in F1 allways elevated drivers to the bravest people in the world. Why would you censor interesting stuff that goes on? They never showed actual injuries and allways kept proper distance when drivers were getting medical care.

  6. If I read this a year ago, I’d probably agree, but I think they’ve improved a lot. The latest one for example was a top 10 battles for the lead in the hybrid era and I’ve enjoyed the top 10 moments of brilliance of various drivers. It’s a great way to connect new fans of the sport to its history. I must say I can’t stand the cropped “shorts” videos but I understand they’re appealing to non-f1 fans in a format to grab attention quickly on Facebook feeds and the like.

  7. Only Facts!
    8th April 2021, 21:07

    *braking points*…

  8. Well, this isn’t something new…

  9. “Don’t blame the pig, blame those who feed it.” The reality is that F1 are giving their audiences what they want, the only way this changes is if no-one watches the crashes.

    I get that seeing a load of crashes could be seen as crass if you are risking your life to provide entertainment but it is just the nature of the beast unfortunately.

    1. If Ricardo doesn’t know that he is risking his life to provide entertainment then he chose the wrong career path.

      1. @yaru I believe @chimaera2003 is saying it is at least plausible that someone risking their life for entertainment can reasonably have a different viewpoint to at least some of the people being entertained.

  10. Yes, but do F1 have this roll of amazing moments to put on social media?
    Look at the race highlights video on F1 youtube channel. I think that more than once last year the highlights were only 5 minutes long and they spent 2 minutes showing the start or a yellow flag incident.
    Maybe the concentration on crashes is just an effect of the lack of viral-worthy social media footage.
    For instance, last race was deemed good, but selecting images to “describe” it, one gets a few spins/errors and the last laps HAM-VER duel – which ended up on a explanation requiring VER move voluntarily giving up his position.

  11. Come on, Daniel. Crashes are exciting to watch. It’s always been part of the sport just as much as close racing.

    If you aren’t comfortable with this, go and drive a bus or something.

  12. Show a race with no crashes shown and you foster a (false) narrative that mistakes have no consequences. We are most excited about the racing when one or more drivers are driving to the limit, right on the edge. Watching cars cruising around a track will lead to the end of the sport.

  13. Maybe F1 believes this will attract NASCAR fans to F1. :-p

  14. John Scorsini
    9th April 2021, 3:23

    What if….what if…a dozen competing F1 cars at each race actually had a better than decent chance to win a race, any race? Competition, not crashes, would then be the focus of the media gurus. But when Haas states that all they want to do is beat Williams so they don’t finish last, well then……’nuff said.

  15. Dean Franklin
    9th April 2021, 5:39

    Ricciardo is in the wrong sport if watching crashes makes him squeamish.

    It’s like MMA not doing replaying brutal concussions.

    And the dig at Carlos is ridiculous. Ricciardo is a soon to be 32 year old stuck in some kind of extended adolescence, everything is about trying to be the cool guy. Like Hamilton there’s a bit of Peter Pan about him. Also, always likes to one up guys, have a little dig at them, alpha them if you will. Loves attention plays the clown to get it.

    1. Just curious – which driver(s) do you support/like out of the current crop?

  16. He is biased as a driver. He has no idea what fans want.

  17. These Prost/Senna crash in Suzuka, I guess Riccardo never watched it again and again.

    It seems to me that motorsports manage pretty well the difference between crashes and accidents.

  18. He has a point. F1 media footage is getting more like one of those YouTube crash obsessed channels. I understand why; one chap overtaking another chap does not have the same dramatic impact in clip form. Crashes and near misses are not something I enjoy seeing but they are part of F1. It’s unrealistic to expect producers not to use their most dramatic footage. I simply hope they continue to show restraint in how they present crashes that resulted in death or serious injury.

  19. If Drive to Survive has done anything it has shown to me how Americans absolutely MUST have drama/excitement in anything, and everything, they produce and consume.

    The mind of “The Yankee” is too simple to have the functionality to concentrate on anything without drama.

    Just look at how they ridiculously over-dramaticised the PRE-SEASON TESTING in the latest season.

    A disgusting addiction.

    1. UK is mourning the death of an appalling racist associated with their head of state.

  20. Maybe Ricciardo can’t see it so easily from the inside, but pandering to youngsters is obviously the new F1. Environment and social justice focus, soap opera TV series, sprint qualifying, crash focus is for sure just the start. I believe new owners Liberty even said outright they’re not happy with the current demographic and want to attract a younger audience which I guess is all about attracting new sponsors as they are not likely to pay the F1TV fee, are they.

    1. @balue Perhaps F1 is no longer for you, or at least that’s how you are making it sound. The reality is almost all sports are clamouring to make sure they are engaging and growing the youth audience and trying to turn them into life-long fans, while they bury their faces in their phones and their social media and tune out from the real world.

      1. @robbie It’s the wrong approach. They might think it will work but it won’t. Football is the obvious one to compare with, but look for example at the Top Gear TV show. No one would ever believe 3 old geezers fooling around would be a hit, but it became one of the biggest shows of all time, loved by people of all ages all over the world. After they became just too non-PC and were dropped, the marketeers thought the new show should pander to all markets, and took in a PC crowd and it predictably bombed.

        In USA, the biggest chat show is Joe Rogan, a middle aged pumped up weed smoker who will just sit and chat for hours on end. Millions absorb it all.

        Honesty, integrity, and non-PC is what people appreciate. Not what the marketeers think people like. The American F1 owners thought for example a boxing or wrestling style intro would rile up the crowd, but it was a disaster. Now it’s the social messaging intro, green message and whatever else they think the (nonexistant) responsible ADHD teens are into. It’s going to fail. People will be much more impressed with drivers shown as proud individualists not pushed around to stand at attention during national anthems or kneeling for others.

        Sprint qualifying will do nothing but confuse and put people off. Same for all the other stuff like endless safety car periods, restarts and whatever else gimmickry they have planned to ‘excite’ the youngsters. It’s wrong. Just think why you started to love F1. Was it the ‘message’ or the fast paced action with no boring qualifyings? Of course not.

        1. @balue I just think it is rhetoric on your part when you say things like “it’s the wrong approach.” I just don’t see anything wrong with what Liberty and Brawn are doing other than righting the ship of what had become an unsustainable entity. Example, they are far from just pandering to the youth, and by bringing cars back to being able to race closely they are actually bringing F1 closer to what it’s DNA should be, for the older audience as much as the youth. I disagree that “sprint qualifying will do nothing but confuse and put people off.” It is simply an exploration to see if there might be a more exciting way to qualify than the current flying lap method. It is only those who are against it just from principle and from speculation, that talk about it as you are. For me overwhelmingly they are looking after the best interests of the pinnacle of racing first and foremost, and trying to retain and grow the audience that way. Engaging youth, and Sprint Qualifying, are not things that will be the end of F1 like you seem to think. To me they are smaller components of a much much bigger movement of actions, which the teams have agreed by the way, to make F1 sustainable and to grow it in what I think is a very healthy way.

        2. @balue It seems you’ve not paid much attention to Top Gear for a while. In 2020, Top Gear got more viewers than it’s had since the first episode of the reboot (and don’t forget that the presenters on that season fell out spectacularly with each other, which along with obvious signs Top Gear had lost its general sense of direction, was a major contributing factor to 2016. For those who don’t know, Top Gear halved its audience in the space of three episodes. By the way, it’s almost certainly not due to Clarkson’s approach still being timely in 2015/2016, as that first episode of 2016 got half a million more viewers than any of the 2015 Clarkson-led episodes received).

          You might not like what the revamped Top Gear provides, but an increasing number of people apparently do. This is why it’s now on BBC One, instead of BBC Two (where it has lived for most of its time, including most of the Clarkson era). For that matter, Bangers and Cash is the most-watched program on Yesterday, which is similarly about a bunch of old people who work with cars with unbridled enthusiasm, so maybe all a TV program needs to be successful nowadays is a group of relatable people who care a lot about what they do for a living?

    2. @balue A lot of youngsters aren’t into crash-led footage – and many of those who are, are only interested as a curiosity (as in, they flit into the footage for 5-10 minutes to see what happened and then stop watching again). Some people are, regardless of age group, but crashes on their own are as unlikely to create a good following among the young as the old. I’ve seen plenty of young people write exactly the same complaints as Daniel is expressing concerning Romain’s crash footage.

      If “crash-led” is what Liberty thinks it has learned from its statistics, I suspect it may be interpreting its figures wrong – and may well discover that it’s a far more complex matter than it thinks.

  21. Totally agree with DR. Media are simply looking for attention grabbing footage.. as they do with every single “news” item. Makes their job easy because no research is required..

    1. I don’t totally agree as – enjoy a good sausage maker as long as no-one is hurt – but from RIC’s point of view his most notable and biggest crash was (and is) replayed seemingly endlessly.

  22. antony obrien
    9th April 2021, 14:07

    Well make it more exiting on track. We love cars driving sideways and mad overtakes. What were you expecting 20 greatest driving carefully round a chicane clips? The engineers tell cars not to do this or that, they are on a different strategy, let them thru. Imagine telling a Mansell that, well they did and he ignored it and we have Mansell on Berger at the Peralta. Plenty of hits on that clip. Crashes and gawping at them have always been part of F1, like it or not.

    As far bleating over the doc, well watch Senna if you want to see some real truth bending. Its part of what TV does, jeopardy, dramatising, embellishing. Pretty boring otherwise.

  23. I have an opinion
    10th April 2021, 0:37

    No one has yet mentioned that Ricciardo was buddies with Leclerc’s godfather. And Leclerc was buddies with Hubert. I think this is the place he is coming from.

  24. Nixer Doyle
    12th April 2021, 8:20

    Daniel’s not coming from a place any more specific than the truth that motor racing is inherently dangerous and sometimes fatal. And that trying to attract fans by emphasizing the potential for death over driver skill and the cars’ magnificence is ghoulish and morally corrupt.

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