Russian F1 commentator Alexey Popov revealed that he was worried about the state of the F1 community, saying that it has become increasingly toxic over the years.
The 2021 season saw controversy and drama rule the roost as fans were split more than ever regarding the championships. Never before had F1 seen such a large turnout of viewers, and while that is a good thing financially, it wasn’t the best from a social point of view.
Given how many talking points were there in 2021, each of those incidents saw intense debate and discussion. Unfortunately, most of those escalated into bitter and petty disputes online, with the most extreme cases leading to death threats, racism and other despicable social evils.
Popov revealed that he was worried about what the F1 community has become, and expressed his disgust at people being reactionary and deluded.
“I am very disappointed with the way Formula 1 fans react to news nowadays,” he said in an interview with Championat.com.
“On my YouTube channel, I’ve had almost the most views this year of a video with the headline “Max (Verstappen) quits?” It was just a reaction to people starting to hype the story – supposedly Max said he was leaving. And I just explained that he wasn’t going anywhere. But the fact itself – such things attract people.
“And what was the story? When I started to unravel the whole tangle, I found the original interview: it was on a BBC podcast. I listened to it twice. To twist what a person has said to such an extent, that’s a real challenge!”
“I understand that it’s an unhealthy story these days, where people aren’t interested in going into detail, but are interested in a big headline, so that they can get into the comments and start badmouthing each other,” he continued.
“I always thought Formula 1 was different from, say, football. I was very happy and proud that we have much more intelligent fans who respect each other. Respectful of the drivers they cheer for, but also of the other drivers and their teams.
“This year, sometimes it was just scary: I see people talking crap about each other. Honestly, this is not the Formula 1 I was proud of at one point.”