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Italian GP - Booing Who?

Let's have a look why there were mixed feelings and emotions towards the podium celebrations yesterday at Monza. | By Ernie Black |
Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10th, 2012 (F1plus / Ernie Black).- A lot of comments were made after the Italian Grand Prix regarding race winner Lewis Hamilton being booed. I was one of those making the comments. I was disappointed that the Tifosi didn't show more class. I'm one of those people that tends to cheer at F1 races, regardless of who wins. One reason is probably because I love the sport and those in it, many of which are my heroes.

There were thousands on Twitter, that shared similar comments. Some of which, were in poor taste and just as offensive, proving that two wrongs don't make a right. It certainly proved that ignorance and classless behaviour can co-exist when governed by passion and emotions. I tried to calm the waters with some of my followers as I asked them to please consider that the actions of a few fans, should not be misinterpreted as the sentiments of an entire nation (or all Tifosi).

Then I had a chat with a good friend of mine who gave me some food for thought. He asked if I had ever been to a football game, or hockey game or any other sporting event where I cheered for a hometown team. Obviously I answered yes. He proceeded to ask me if I had ever cheered my team or booed the opponents. Honestly, I again answered yes. He then asked me if I had ever been to an event at a visiting field or arena where the opposing team and/or its fans were booed. Yet again, I answered yes. I was booed and heckled several times when wearing the wrong team jersey when visiting.

The fog started to lift as I realized where he was going with this line of questioning. I have actually been at an event where the home team was being booed for poor performance...

The light bulb was on. Monza is Ferrari's home turf. It's the one circuit that is home to the biggest group of Tifosi (Ferrari Fans). Of course they're going to BOO Hamilton in a McLaren after winning in the Ferrari’s back yard. What the hell are we thinking? Hamilton and Alonso were (if no longer) arch-nemesis, they drive for two teams which are the sport's two biggest rivals...Are you kidding me? How did I not see this before?

Is it right? Probably not. Is it acceptable? Probably, to a very small degree. Is it understandable? Hell yes! Is it condonable...I suppose if one takes all the previous scenarios into account, I don't see why it shouldn't be.

There were reports by some about racial comments being tossed about. I can confirm from sources at Monza who are Accredited F1 journalists, that there was none that they could report. It was suggested to me that it might have been the work of some to try to inflame the situation. Be that as it may, I do draw the line at anything even remotely close to racial or personal jibes. If you don't like the winner, don't cheer for him. Feel free to ignore or boo him, cheer your favorite team and driver and enjoy the atmosphere.

I read tweets from fans saying they had considered going to Monza but have decided to forego after the apparent booing incident. To those people, I say this; don't let something like that throw you off and allow it to deprive yourself of an absolutely magnificent experience and place. I urge you to read Joe Saward's blog article on Monza (http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/thoughts-at-monza/).

My usual readers know my disposition on the sport. I love Formula One and I'm very passionate about sports. I can understand emotions, both good and bad. I used to dislike Ayrton Senna at the start of his career because I was too stupid to understand what I was witnessing. I let passion get in the way of reason. I quickly learned a lesson that I should keep my eyes and mind open. The result of who wins a race or championship will not alter the course of my life now or five years from now.

Cheer your favorites, boo your rivals and do it all in good spirit while together at the pub with a nice cold pint of beer.

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