F1 Racing vs Ralf Schumacher

Ralf Schumacher, Silverstone, 2007, testingWhen this month’s F1 Racing landed on my doorstep this morning, and I saw that Matt Bishop had done an interview with Ralf Schumacher, there was only ever going to be one article I would read first.

It’s a particularly entertaining piece that I don’t wish to spoil for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet – don’t read on any further if you don’t want to find out what it says.

F1 Racing magazine in general and editor Bishop in particular have never been particularly kind to the younger Schumacher. This month’s piece “A grotesque rictus of disgruntlement” (referring to Ralf’s face when he’s in a bad mood) isn’t going to improve things.

Bishop reveals that he had an argument with Schumacher over a photo shoot in Indianapolis, at which Ralf demanded that he would only allow his picture to be taken if F1 Racing started being more complimentary about him and Toyota.

The dispute ended with Bishop dismissing Schumacher using a four-letter word of the Lewis Hamilton and Ron Dennis variety* and no pictures of Schumacher being taken.

Interestingly, even after this Toyota were still happy to supply Jarno Trulli for the same photoshoot. Does no-one at the team care share their number one driver’s displeasure with their reputation?

Or do they just want rid of him? If he is still in F1 next year, don’t expect him to appear in F1 Racing that often…

*McLaren have strongly denied the earlier claims in several newspapers that Hamilton used the F-word when speaking to Ron Dennis. They may well be telling the truth, but unless they release the radio transmission and pledge to let their team radio be used on television in the future, I don’t see how they can expect anyone to believe them.

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11 comments on F1 Racing vs Ralf Schumacher

  1. Completely off the point of Ralfie but apropos of your footnote, I have been to both extremes on the F-word incident. At first, my reaction was typical old fogy in that I immediately decided that Hamilton was a yob. Then, when Ron Dennis denied it ever happened, I changed my mind and believed him. Now, having had time to reflect, I think it’s a storm in a teacup.

    Young people these days tend to use the word constantly, to the point where it becomes utterly meaningless. And, if Lewis is anything, he’s young – that would be the culture he’s grown up in. So I see it as entirely possible that he used the word in the heat of the moment without thinking anything of it.

    To older ears it is an offensive word with strong connotations – Ron is of a generation that would use the word only to provide special emphasis to what he is saying and he would see someone else’s use of it as offensive too, hence his reaction (if it happened). But he started out as a mechanic so it’s not as if he had never heard the word before.

    All in all, I think it does not matter whether it happened or not and it’s none of our business anyway. How a team communicates within itself is up to the team culture and we don’t have the right to step in and say this is good or that is bad. It may have been a surprise to be reminded that Hamilton is young but I guess we should have known it all along. ;)

  2. That line about Schumacher Jr caught my eyes as well. Despite F1Racing’s writings, I seriously think Ralf is going to hard pressed to get an F1 drive next year.

    Regarding Clive’s comment above: In my experience, older people have cottoned on to the ‘slang-use’ of the word and while they may not use it in that context, they accept it when said by younger people. Although I do agree that what is said within a company should remain within a company. I swear at my boss on a daily basis, and he responds with the same. However, as recent experience has taught us, as soon as that leaves the office, other people can be offended and take words way out of context.

  3. Number 38 said on 17th August 2007, 22:44

    GAWD! I must be an ancient dinoasur…….I NEVER use foul language, never have and will never have to! I learned to communicate in a civil fashion
    but must admit youngsters like Hamilton et al have grown up in a society who’s standards are so low ……. enough said.

  4. I agree with Clive (and others) society has changed. It doesn’t matter if some of us don’t swear and some of us stand up when a lady joins us at a table – the new generation don’t hold the same standards. This isn’t an indictment quite the opposite.

    I’m not sure he said what they said though, it seems very un-Lewis…

  5. I don’t want to sound like a Lewis crazy of course.

  6. Rohan said on 18th August 2007, 5:25

    Whose gonna pay Ralf to drive next year? Toyota? Admittedly they have no sense at times but even they arent so daft. Unless he’s gonna go to Spyker or Super Aguri I dont see who has time for him. Its not even that he’s so surly. Admittedly the Toyota sucks at times but apart from the last couple races he’s never looked remotely interested. Toyota need a Michael. Someone who can motivate and drive the team.

  7. Just a brief response to Ollie’s comment: Silence does not necessarily indicate acceptance. ;)

  8. would we be discussing Hamilton’s f*** word, in a case him winning a race after an overtaking maneuvre in the last corner and started to shout at Dennis through the radio “This was f****** awesome!” ? Would anybody care at all about the F word ?

    I think Clive got it spot on here

    As for Ralf goes, it would not be easy to find too many publications that are complimentary about him and Toyota :-) Whether it is fair or not is another question.

  9. Warning! Long entry and rant alert!

    I am 21 years old and haven’t used any swear word since I was 11 (which was when I found out what swear words were). In fact, I was quite offended when I read that Matt Bishop used that word at Ralf Schumacher.

    However, any sympathy I might have had for Ralf had disappeared about four paragraphs earlier when Ralf decided to use the photoshoot for his own ends. In doing so he made three distinct blunders:

    1) The job of a journalist is to say what they see. If they like something they see, they’ll say so. If they see something they don’t like, they’ll talk about it in unfavourable terms. If Ralf thinks he’s getting too much of the latter, he needs to do stuff the press like (smiling more would be a good start, though some better performances would be better for his long-term prospects).

    2) If Ralf had an issue with F1 Racing or any other journalistic organ, then he should have discussed it when neither of them had anything better to do. Stopping or delaying a photoshoot for any purpose is never going to make you look good to the press (as Robert Kubica has now found out – that’s in the same issue of F1 Racing).

    3) What Keith has kindly not mentioned is that Ralf complained about his own team’s press representative during the exchange – while the individual in question was in the room. If you are negotiating with a team, it is a seriously bad idea to slight them in public!

    Matt’s behaviour, while not good, was considerably better than Ralf’s. And Ralf, unlike Matt, is going to suffer more from this sort of behaviour. Especially since he’s at politically-correct Toyota (remember what they did to Mike Gascoyne – and all he did was rub some bigwigs up the wrong way in private!)

  10. Vertigo said on 19th August 2007, 18:35

    Matt Bishop was wrong to get so angry with Ralf, but Ralf has got to realize that he can’t tell the press what to print. Hopefully Ralf will learn from this incident, read the article, and realize that he needs to start driving well if he is to keep his job. He’s a talented guy but he needs to stop thinking about the money before the driving.

  11. KZS said on 30th March 2008, 4:18

    While I understand the criticizm that Ralf gets (what did he think, he can tell the press what to write?), I think the sad thing about this whole story is how the chief editor (luckily only ex-chief editor by now) of the biggest selling F1 publication behaved. He could have criticized Ralf in a more intelligent way.  I’m no Ralf fan but I’m a fan of basic human respect and if journalists behave like this suggesting their young readers this is something cool, I wonder what’s wrong with this World. I decided not to buy F1 Racing any more – one of the reasons is this, other is that drivers who they like cannot do wrong, drivers who they dislike cannot do right for them. This is a blatantly biased magazine, they also often use 
    their articles for personal wendetta, and on the top of that their journalists are blatantly arrogant!

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