What if an F1 driver was caught with his trousers down?

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    Earlier tonight, veteran Wales and Manchester United football striker Ryan Giggs became the only player to have scored a goal in every single season of the FA Premier League. Whether you love or hate Giggs or United, you simply cannot argue that is anything but a remarkable achievement from a highly skilled and remarkable sportsman. However, Ryan Giggs was at the centre of a pretty significant public scandal in the UK earlier in the year when it turned out he had been granted a ‘super-injunction’ which banned the British media from publishing details about a sustained extra-marital affair he had with a reality TV ‘star’.

    As good a footballer as Ryan Giggs is, the fact that he is married and has children and yet still decided to have sexual relations with another woman for seven months in secret means I can’t really respect or even like Giggs as a man. I’ve never had time for cheaters, whether they’re in my own family or the President of the USA – if you show disrespect towards your spouse and your family by letting what’s in your trousers take priority over them both, you don’t deserve much respect yourself in my opinion.

    So that brings me to Formula 1. Thankfully, the private lives of F1 drivers don’t end up as front page news very often, but as Max Mosley will no doubt tell you these days the British tabloids will still consider the sexual exploits of people in the sport as being in the public’s interest to know about if they ever catch you doing anything particularly ‘juicy’. In the past few months, we’ve seen two of the best drivers on the grid – Hamilton and Alonso – suffer relationship breakdowns. Now the reasons for that are none of our business at all, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that those reasons will remain private. I’m the sort of person who cares as much about how a driver acts both on and off-track as I do how they drive when determining whether I like them, dislike them or am indifferent to them and if I read news today that one of my favourite drivers had been cheating on his wife or girlfriend, I’d lose a heck of a lot of respect for them pretty much instantly.

    So, what about you guys? If F1 had its very own Tiger Woods/Ryan Giggs situation and it happened to a big name driver, how would you react? Would it severely affect your opinion of that driver or would you be completely indifferent to it?



    I never thought Ryan Giggs private life was any of my business. I only ever saw him as a great footballer and it never bothered me what kind of man he was away from the field. I still see him as a great footballer and still don’t care. I often make the distinction that I don’t agree with Alonso’s tactics but it doesn’t mean I disrespect him as a man away from the track. So no, it wouldn’t affect how I perceived Alonso, or Hamilton, or anyone else, because I don’t like them for being faithful, I like them for being brilliant at what they do.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    They’d probably be be rumoured to be moving to Red Bull before denying anything was wrong and then crashing into Felipe Massa. That seems to be the accepted standard for any Formula 1 driver going through personal problems.


    @prisoner-monkeys Yes, but what would your reaction be if it turned out that a hypothetical driver, let’s call him ‘Lewando Alonilton’, was caught ‘stopping in another pit-box’? Schadenfreude? Catastrophic apathy?



    Even though there personal lives are none of our business they must still be aware they are in the public eye, surely, and so must know that if they were ever involved in a scandal that everyone would eventually find out and they may lose the respect of fans and people involved in the sport? Even though we shouldn’t care about what they do outside of the car I still think it would be difficult to not lose respect for a driver that behaved in that way…



    Well put it this way I know Gilles Villeneuve had been cheating on his wife with a long time mistress, but he’s still one of my favourite drivers of all time and from what I’ve read I can’t imagine him as anything other than a decent and thoroughly genuine human being. Sportsmen and women are only human, we shouldn’t be surprised when they make mistakes and turn out not to be as perfect as some people imagined.


    Tom L.

    @magnificent-geoffrey I think the driver you’re referring to is actually called ‘Jenson Button’ :D


    Stephen Jones

    ‘stopping in another pit-box’

    +1 internets to you sir..

    imo, i’d still view them as an F1 Driver, an amazingly good sportsman. Sure Cheating’s bad, but if it destroys a career.. that’s not fair. I’d still support them for what they do; Driving an F1 Car fast.. I still support Tiger Woods, because he can hit a little white ball better than everyone else, not because he’s an amazingly loyal familyman



    nah, they’d get extra personality points from me!

    Just kidding

    It depends on who it was they cheated on, if it was Nicole scherzeldingerminger then it can be understood, I mean, you can’t blame a man for wanting a decent conversation!!

    Either way, It wouldn’t effect my views on them really, I am an F1 fanatic and really don’t care what they do in their personal lives. I don’t think any less of Mad Max for what he did either and don’t really understand the furore surrounding it.



    I would think less of the person, but not of their skill at their sport.



    Ryan Giggs was one of my favourite footballers, I grew up with his career and I remember reading his ‘Soccer Skills’ book very thoroughly indeed! Football fell out of favour around 2002/3 with me and I rarely watch a game. However if I watched Manchester United I would always want him to do well. Everyone would always think he was such a nice guy off the pitch and you’d definitely want to go for a beer with him, even though he might seem a little dull.

    When the news came out about what he had done I was shocked and appauled that my once favourite football player could have done such a thing. However this all passed quite quickly and when I see him on the field now all I think of is his talent.

    I feel this would be different with an F1 driver as I am a bigger F1 fan than a football fan, hence I’m writing this on F1Fanatic, not FootballFanatic. I am more involved with the drivers and know a little about their lives outside of the race track by following their twitter accounts, reading their books or watching interviews. So this probably makes me react differently to how I did with Giggs.

    I think I would lose some respect for that driver and for a while I might not want them to do so well in races. But after a while, if they are talented enough you get past that and see them for their skill.

    So I feel that people will react differently to drivers they like and dislike. Say if a driver who people don’t think deserves a spot on the grid does this then people will use this as another way of putting said driver down. However if it happens to a popular driver who has bags of talent people tend to just forget those things. Just look at Villeneuve who has been mentioned above, and Graham Hill. People love those guys.

    p.s. sorry for the length



    I don’t think any contracts will be getting ripped up nor such a hysteria being created. Ryan Giggs was an idol to many, an inspiration to all, including me who I used to look up as him as a footballing god but after his scandal, I see him nothing more than a money driven, sex filled waste of space. Granted that scoring in 20 consecutive seasons makes the history books, but who’s to read that section in the book in the same light when there’s a section he cheated on his wife and then slept with his brothers wife? Anyway enough of the bad man.

    If an F1 driver did this I would be shocked and I wouldn’t view them in a same light again, but I feel that the media will post a story on it and that would be that because F1 drivers are deemed as men of intelligents and of have sense.



    I don’t know much about a driver’s personal life. If he was caught cheated I would loose respect towards him as a man, surely not as a driver, but it would be hard to cheer for cheater. It would also depend on what/how he cheated.



    The personal lives of other people aren’t my business and I feel sorry for the lack of privacy sports stars get. It would dent any respect I’d had for them though and I just can’t help it. I like F1 drivers because of the way they come across as well as their on track conduct but it isn’t really any of my business and while I’d like to think I’d never cheat on anybody and cheating is disgraceful I couldn’t really comment as I’d know nothing about the situation, drivers are only human, that one thing shouldn’t define them and who knows what I’d do in that situation. So yes, I’d lose respect for the driver (as I have slightly with Gilles) but I’d like to think I’d also not automatically dislike them or make black and white judgements.

    This is a very good topic btw.



    Meh. On the moral transgression scale, cheating on your partner doesn’t rank up there with things that are and should be public business. It makes you a liar and that’s no commendable thing, but it’s not criminal or so morally offensive as to make you a pariah. Personally i’m much more offended, for example, when someone defends clearly oppressive political regimes, or plays Nazi dressup for titillation, or when people rationalize Bernie’s statements on Hitler as harmless, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

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