Monday, 16 May 2011

Do We Have a Right to Know About the Driver's Life Outside of Racing?

So the news today is of another lawsuit related to F1. Adrian Sutil is reported to have injured Eric Lux in a nightclub following the Chinese Grand Prix - see this article by Autosport. Serious allegations indeed - we've seen what happens when F1 officials are reported to have brought the sport's integrity into dispute. It doesn't usually end well for a career. Intriguingly, Lewis Hamilton is also reported to be at the scene too, but whether the incident involves him or not remains to be seen.

I must admit, I'm not that interested on whether Sutil and Hamilton did injure anyone, accidentally or otherwise. To me, the drivers are drivers and it's nothing to do with me what happens in a nightclub after a race. Similarly, I don't care who the drivers are going out with, where they live or what they drive (although I was impressed when Vettel announced he drove a classic Fiat 500 - I am slightly biased towards Sebastian anyway). Surely as F1 fans we should be concerned about the driving alone?

Now, if Sutil or Hamilton's careers are affected by the lawsuit then yes, I think we need to know why their careers have taken a turn in either direction. However, I kind of disagree with this news being posted when it has no bearing on a race. What the drivers get up to off track is their business. I don't particularly want to see Sutil racing and think "Oh look, that guy has been charged for assault". I want to see Sutil racing and think "Wow, Force India are doing well!".

The news has been unavoidable if you're a Twitter fan such as myself - loads of journalists have posted the story and I must admit that my curiosity led me to it. Reading the article has, obviously, made me look at Sutil in a new light. I'm human, my psychology dictates that this information affects my attributions to a person (trust me, I'm an undergrad psychology student). Although, while one part of me is surprised, the other part is just thinking "Ah well, it's his business" and "Bring on the Grand Prix". Overall, while the news has surprised me I ultimately think that it's none of my business and I just want to watch the racing. I can't criticise the journalists who have reported the story - it's their business afterall - however I just wish that we were able to focus on the racing and not get the 'celebrity effect' of wanting to know every detail of a driver's life!