F1 teams and drivers use foul language to hide crucial race tactics and information from their rivals, according to the Guardian newspaper.
The topic of swearing hit the headlines after Sunday’s Abu Dhabi grand prix, when Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both swore during their podium interview with former F1 driver David Coulthard.
Winner Raikkonen recalled the media giving him “sh*t” for not smiling enough after his previous victories, while Vettel used the F-word not only with Coulthard but also in the post-race press conference. Referring to when he smashed through a trackside marker board during the race, the championship leader told the world’s assembled media: “I thought, Well, now the front (wing) is f**ked”.
Coulthard told the Gulf News that the swearing was “embarrassing”.
“(It was embarrassing) because it goes out live to the whole (television) feed. I guess they don’t really enjoy doing those interviews on the podium,” he mused.
According to the Guardian, teams and drivers also use foul language as a weapon to censor crucial information from rival teams. The newspaper said an employee of Bernie Ecclestone’s television company monitors pit-to-car radio chatter, selecting excerpts for broadcast.
Journalist Richard Williams writes: “While making inquiries about the protocols surrounding this form of supervised eavesdropping, I made an interesting discovery. Although the teams have no control over the selection of these snippets, they do have one weapon at their disposal: when passing information they are keen to conceal from others, they ensure that an obscenity forms a prominent part of the conversation.”