Cheers and Jeers: Why Sebastian Vettel is Booed

By now, the internet has been buzzing for days about the boo’s Vettel received in Asia. There are lots of blog entries, theories, news reports – and now here’s a another one.

Photo courtesy of literalf1.com

I’ll be the first to admit that every time I see that finger, I want to snap it off. And every time he takes pole, I feel little defeated, and with every additional win, a small part of me dies. I won’t even get into what happens when he wins more world titles. But my mommy told me to never boo a winner, and every good girl listens to her mother.

It’s not like Vettel is universally loved by all. In fact, the resounding roar when Lewis passed him right after turn 11 at the 2012 USGP was so deafening, I thought my eardrums were going to pop. Seriously, I couldn’t hear the roar of the V8’s over the sheer elation that Vettel was not going to win. But it’s not like he was booed when he took pole, or when he led most of the race. 

Actually, I was a little surprised to see Korea, one of the most polite nations in the world, booing a the reigning world champion. There was plenty of Red Bull paraphernalia in the stands, and he has fans all over the world. And it’s not like he’s that much more arrogant….is he?

So I started thinking about why they’d be so upset to see him there, and I have three theories:

  1. They’re jealous. Ok, yes, this is the most obvious and cynical reason. But he’s an attractive 26 year old German that makes more money in two hours than most of us will ever see in a lifetime. He has throngs of screaming girls and has arguably the best job in the world. Ok, yeah, I’m jealous too.
  2. They are actually Ferrari/McLaren/Mercedes/Lotus/whomever fans. I take it back. Maybe THIS is the most obvious reason. When you’re a fan of a sports team, or athlete, there is the inevitable desire to cheer when they do well, and jeer at the team or opponent that beats them. Maybe those booers honestly want to see someone like Fernando or Kimi or Lewis win. And I can’t blame them….
  3. It’s the Red Bull dynasty, and it’s oppressive (and boring). Think back, to all your history classes. The Chinese dynasties, the Russian dynasties. Eventually, there is dissent among the masses, and then revolution. Red Bull has dominated for the last three years, and so has Vettel. He’s like the King, with Horner and Newey as his most trusted advisers. And Webber is the popular relative he had to give a job to, but doesn’t really like, so he gives him the second-best of everything. And I’m sure the fans know that it will be very difficult to remove the king, but it would be nice to see someone else win a battle once in a while.

With all of this in mind, and while part of me agrees with each of these reasons, I still don’t know that it’s right to boo a winner. I mean, until the FIA proves the Red Bull car is using a cheater ECU, I’m going to have to assume that he just has the best combination of ability and car. And if that’s so,Mom wouldn’t be very proud of me if I participated in booing. So instead, I’ll just sit there and give him golf claps. 

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One comment

  1. Well, that’s why it’s a competitive sport, not not an elementary school soccer league – you might want someone else to win, but it’s not about spreading the love but being the best.

    That said, even I am getting tired of the Cherub, despite not being exactly Team Spanish Devil lately.

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