I’ve just read something quite absurd. In fact, it is so ridiculous, I absolutely must share. The news centres not on a Formula One driver, but on four-times World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, who incidentally did have a go in an F1 car recently. It would appear that the FIA aren’t too happy with Loeb’s appearance, and an email conversation between two FIA members has been published. It really is quite hilarious…
…Oh by the way, that’s not a photograph of Loeb, it’s Formula One’s Nick Heidfeld, but you’ll see why it’s relevant in a minute.
Surinder Thatthi, chairman of CACMS, and Morrie Chandler, president of the WRC have spoken to one another about the scruffy appearance of Loeb, particularly when the television cameras focus on him, which I’m sure you can imagine, is quite a lot.
I watched the WRC Mexico highlights last night and I have to voice my opinion on the poor appearance of Sebastien Loeb on WRC-TV. He was unshaven, scruffy looking and with unkempt hair!!
It is wrong…..when the FIA gives him global TV coverage to millions of viewers and to many children worldwide he is a hero and role model […] I know there is a level of personal freedom one is allowed but I feel he is taking this too far and someone should talk to him or his team about this. Surinder Thatthi.
Chandler responded with the following.
Yes I watched the same as you did […] Unfortunately it is not a problem that is unique to our sport as the same happens in football and other “male” sports.
Of course these persons are an insult to real males. My only solution is that we suggest to [rallying rights holders] ISC that the camera does not cover them close up. Morrie Chandler.
Chandler’s response was also sent to Simon Long, the ISC managing director, who took a lighter view of the situation.
I do feel that it is precisely Sebastien’s “ruggedly good-looking” appearance which has helped endear him to so many new and young fans both in France and around the world. Simon Long.
Autosport are reporting that it was news agency Reuters that saw the emails and have since published them. But isn’t this just a load of utter nonsense? I remember Jacques Villeneuve turning up to racing circuits looking like a teenager, baggy t-shirts and jeans to boot. The 1997 world champion would often dye his hair, and in fact it was bleached the very day he won his title. Johnny Herbert would also occasionally forget to stand close to his razor on the morning of a race, and I don’t think Nick Heidfeld even bothers anymore. Oh, and please let us not forget Fernando Alonso’s facial hair in 2006. While his little beard was neat and trim, it was also quite funny.
So what next? Are the FIA going to ban close-ups of Nick Heidfeld. Maybe they could photoshop images of Villeneuve so history will show a more smart appearance of previous racers? Maybe they could buy David Coulthard a multi-pack of Gillette blades and wag their finger at him until it fell off? The finger, that is.
Honestly, do me a favour FIA, shut up. I honestly didn’t think the actions of the governing body of the WRC or Formula One could get any more ridiculous. I’m afraid to say they just have. Shouldn’t the FIA be focusing on other things right now…?