Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

Some drivers’ radio comments ‘not good for young kids watching’ – Hamilton

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Formula 1 drivers should remember the sport is being watched by children and not insult their rivals on the radio, says Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton was called a “stupid idiot” by championship rival Max Verstappen following a run-in between the pair during practice for the last race in Austin. The Red Bull driver also raised a middle finger at his rival.

The Mercedes driver said drivers should show respect for each other and remember they are being watched by young people who regard them as role models.

“I think at the core of everything there has to be respect,” said Hamilton. “When I think about and I hear the things that come out of drivers’ mouths I do think about young kids watching us.

“There are kids watching us and they’re looking at us for inspiration and for guidance. There has been a lot of things that have been said which is definitely not good for young kids that are watching.”

Hamilton said he has bitten his tongue when he has felt the urge to criticise a rival on his radio.

“For me, I try to just remain positive and keep calm and again be respectful to the drivers I’m fighting regardless. If I have a name in my head of what I think they are, I don’t share that.

“But it’s pretty easy for me, you laugh it off and you move forwards.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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43 comments on “Some drivers’ radio comments ‘not good for young kids watching’ – Hamilton”

  1. Jeez… Maybe don’t broadcast them?

    1. I think it’s the respect for other drivers where Hamilton has a point, not the swearing specifically. We’ve heard Yuki be pretty disrespectful over the radio. I agree with you, they shouldn’t broadcast radio so the driver can actually let off steam to the race engineer, however currently all the drivers are aware it will probably be broadcast if they start slagging off a rival, because, well, it’s entertainment. It’s just another move away from racing and more of an entertainment drama show.

      I admire Max a lot, but he can be pretty disrespectful over the radio, I remember his comments about Stroll for example. Not exactly sporting, but I know some people don’t care and see it as a positive thing. I personally do but there you go.

      1. It’s the same in every sport though to be fair. They are the enemy and when the adrenalin is flowing, you say disrespectful things that you probably wouldn’t say outside of competition. The difference in F1 is those messages get broadcast on TV whereas they aren’t in other sports.

      2. Depends if he says it during a interview which he didn’t do (Ocon inccident i am not sure) You have to remember if the driver are going for a fast lap the adrenalin and heartbeep is going up things can come out their mounth they didn’t want to say when sitting in a chair answering question behind a mic (Ocon as a exception i think)

      3. @john-h Also, thanks to F1TV, I’m not sure it’s even possible to exclude a statement from the radio record any more.

    2. @fer-no65 Exactly. I think with all that is at stake it is pretty normal for the odd expletive to come out, and LH even admits he thinks of them himself, so it is not like he is immune to the heat of the moment reactions. If LH has a problem with what the kids might hear, he needs to take it up with F1 for selectively broadcasting the juicy bits as they see fit.

      As has been said, sweary language is pervasive in most sports, and in many walks of life, so when it comes to kids it becomes up to the parents to be their teachers and a guidance to understand these things. I think kids can be taught to understand that there is a respect there between athletes in all sports but that sometimes emotions get the better of them in the heat of the moment. Kids are human too and will be experiencing and doing some of that themselves in life. What parents could also point out to their kids is that even after incidents like happened in Silverstone and Monza, and even after things they have been allowed to hear on the radio by F1, we still see the likes of LH and Max fist pumping each other after some more recent races. I think the drivers do overwhelmingly show kids that there is a respect there ultimately. Just show kids how the whole grid was pensive and concerned for Grojean during his fiery crash and then they’ll get a sense that the whole F1 circus can quickly forget their rivalries and come together as a family when the chips are down.

  2. Does Lewis not remember being in school? I heard much worse there than I ever did watching F1

    1. So you are condoning it

      1. No he didn’t say that you pulling his anwers out of it’s context @Leslie Fillis. Even in my times things outside school were way more worse and that was before the 1970’s. I never said bad things even when getting mad but i remember during life dead situations i did…..

    2. I remember that insulting people was considered unacceptable and very much punishable – until secondary school where insults against people lower in the power dynamic was acceptable but not those equal or higher. Both would have considered driver v driver insults unacceptable.

      It was only when I entered environments assumed to be occupied by adults that peers insulting each other could, in some contexts, be deemed acceptable.

  3. I respect his opinion. But I think it is part of the sport. If a parent doesnot want his/her kid to hear it, they should forbid them from watching it in the first place.

    I know thousands of aspirant kids would watch either way, but its good that they understand the way an actual driver does feel when driving by the words spoken by them, so they can try to do better themselves or at the least try to learn to be level minded at all times.

    1. Yep, but if your ten year old wants to watch an actual F1 race, then it would also be nice to see sporting behaviour. In cricket for example they don’t broadcast someone saying what a stupid idiot or stuff like that. I know I’m old school though, American sports love a good fight I guess.

      1. It’s not just American sports and fighting though – the most popular sport in the UK is football and someone demonstrating sporting behaviour in football is almost front-page newsworthy these days!

        I’d certainly have less concerns about a 10 year old watching F1 than I would with football.

  4. I try to just remain positive and keep calm

    Hahahaha maybe he should go back and listen to his own radio. Literally the most negative whiney moaning team radio going.

    1. Bahrain 2018

    2. He didn’t swear at his team or rivals and made inappropriate gestures

    3. Lewis said he tried to remain positive, not that he was necessarily successful ;)

  5. Agree on principle, that the high tempered broadcast, from whomever aren’t useful for children and maybe others.
    What to do with that?

    1. @jehannes Explain to drivers that simply because you want to say something doesn’t mean you have to press the “Radio” button at the same time?

  6. Nothing wrong in principle with what he’s saying. Hamilton is one of the most controlled and disciplined drivers on the grid, for many reasons.

    However the drivers’ personalities is one of F1’s biggest pulls, and I’d much rather see and hear their true feelings rather than watered-down corporate-friendly talk. The kids will understand in time!

    1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      5th November 2021, 4:35

      Hamilton is one of the most controlled and disciplined drivers on the grid, for many reasons.

      We don’t know that. Our impression of the drivers is primarily based on what FOM decides to broadcast. Every driver has thousands of radio conversations with his crew over a race weekend. If Mazepin complains about tires, that’s never broadcasted. If lewis says his tyres are gone, you know what happens. It’s part of the show and the narrative being built each season.

      What Lewis says is partly right, but when a driver is driving at 300+ kph, the last thing on his mind would be what the kids out there think of his radio messages. And if a child is influenced by beeped out radio messages, I’m sorry you need better parenting for him/her.

  7. Is Hamilton forgetting F1 is now owned by a media company and it’s more about the show and ratings than ever before? Just need to watch Drive to Survive, look at the changes to the regs and some of the things on the horizon to see how Liberty has chosen to promote F1.

  8. Hamilton is right on this one… but I rather have a +18 rating on broadcasts and let parents decide than watering down drivers’ personalities and reactions.

  9. “they’re looking at us for inspiration and for guidance”

    Ok mate.

  10. What is better, blipping or lying? I agree blipping does not sound nice or professional. Does it matter? Absobleepinglutely not. Worrying about things that don’t matter.

    1. Perhaps some context was necessary.

      Was the person who gave the statement prompted by someone? Did they give a press conference on that topic only? Was the statement given at a childhood related event, was it at a bleeping machines’ conference?

      It’s easy to say that certain subjects don’t matter, when context is missing.

      1. @faulty I’m not passing judgement, just sharing my view, context is not relevant.
        @alianora-la-canta perhaps, I wouldn’t do it also the tv director could help, and only broadcast the “my tyres are dead(not really)” radio call.

    2. @peartree What’s better is not pressing the “Radio” button when insulting or swearing at other drivers. Funnily enough, we don’t need to know about such things.

  11. Oh please!
    Won’t somebody think of the children!
    /End sarcasm

  12. My opinion is that Lewis is raising a bigger point than the swearing. Its about respect for your competitors even when or if they do something that may not be right. It’s called sportsmanship. Its all fun and games when a middle finger is produced but things can turn ugly and spiral out of control. Going from innocent fun to actual intent.

    1. I ll just say Silverstone. Where was his sportsmanship there? or is that too long ago?

  13. The same old redundant complaint.

  14. So sing a lullaby while fighting with Verstappen wheels-to-wheels. We can’t change everything so it perfectly fits everyone. There are many things not good for kids that are being forced on them in schools, on TV, in books, brainwashing them since the earliest stage of their lives. I don’t expect Formula 1 to educate them in nice manners, after all I don’t think a few *beeps* will give them wrong ideas, but rather what they see on and off track, things you drivers are prepared to do to score a few more points.

  15. Poor old Lewis is a bit out of touch with modern youth…

  16. Just to be clear: comments containing words that are banned – which is anything sweary – are deleted.

    1. Even a link to a video and a c*ns*r*d comment where Hamilton is swearing at Verstappen is being censored even though it was relevant and appropriate comment to this news item. I get it when people are cursing at each other you would censor that.

      1. @mcbosch Links to sites using copyrighted FOM footage, yes. And the other is automatic, censored or not.

    2. Are those words the english alphabet? Or just those that express ideas you disagree with?

  17. I think that LH is right. There are some 2 years old kids watching F1 who did not attend kindergarten yet and therefore they may hear some words in the broadcast that they are not familiar with.

    But seriously, I personally feel very uneasy when people around me use bad language needlessly and almost never swear, and I do no like that some drivers use fould language even in situations that do not require it. Some people are like that. However, I have also been in some very tense situations and appreciate that release may help a lot, for instance it may help one to regain focus. I therefore feel tolerant to F1 drivers in the heat of action, and prefer them to let some steam out and focus fully on driving rather than spending energy at fighting their emotions. It makes more sense to appeal to the broadcaster, because it is ultimately their responsibility.

  18. Television is to blame here. Don’t televise live racing. Institute at least a 5 minute delay so that any bad behaviour can be edited out or replaced with something kinder.
    Like a doge playing with a cute wittle kitten.

  19. Team radios should be heard by no one other than the people involved in the communication.

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