Formula 1 is an intense sport where emotions can run high. Drivers are under extreme pressure to perform at a high level in every single race. You might be wondering what the punishment is for drivers who skip media duties, and if F1 drivers get fined for not doing media interviews.
F1 drivers can be fined up to $25,000 for skipping media interviews. The rules state that all Formula 1 drivers must commit to their duties in the media pen after any session, and skipping out on those duties will lead to them being punished by the FIA. This is because media is very important in F1.
Formula 1 drivers are extremely competitive, and when a result does not go their way, they are understandably disappointed and frustrated. Nevertheless, Formula 1 has to ensure that they provide interviews from each driver after any session. Keep reading to find out more about F1 media duties.
F1 Post Race Media Interviews Explained
Formula 1 drivers are required to conduct interviews with the media after a race. While we’re used to always seeing the top three drivers on our TV screens doing the interviews, every driver on the grid is obliged to give interviews in the media pen after the race, regardless of their result.
This is a rule that every Formula 1 driver has to follow, no matter who they are. Even the giants of the sport such as Lewis Hamilton have to give interviews after the race. These interviews are an important part of the sport as they generate attention all over the world.
Formula 1 invites several prestigious media outlets into the paddock where they are allowed to interview 20 of the best drivers in the world. Formula 1 also has their own media personnel who interview the drivers after a race, even if their race has ended prematurely. This helps them generate their own content for their blog, YouTube channel and other outlets.
What Happens In Post-Race Interviews?
During these media interviews drivers will be discussing their race. Whether it was good or bad, drivers are required to answer any questions that the media outlet has for them. This may involve some difficult questions about their team, their strategies throughout the race, decisions they made, and even their rivals.
Formula 1 drivers need to answer these questions carefully. Everything they say in the interviews is recorded. As with any media outlet, their words can be twisted and interpreted in several different ways to portray them in a specific way. This is why many drivers are very careful about their post-race comments.
If drivers are overwhelmed by negative emotions, they often take some time to cool off before heading over to the media pen. Emotions can cause drivers to say things that are often misinterpreted or that they themselves regret, which would give them a bad reputation among fans and it could even affect relations within their team.
Why Do F1 Drivers Have To Do Interviews After The Race?
F1 drivers have to do interviews after the race because they are a crucial part of any sport, especially one that is as globally popular as Formula 1. The sport features drivers from several different nations and Formula 1 also travels to 20+ countries during a season.
With millions of followers worldwide, Formula 1 is pressured into ensuring that their superstars deliver for the media. Formula 1 thrives off exposure and media attention, so having the drivers conduct interviews after every session is incredibly important. If only a select few drivers conducted interviews, fans of other drivers would lose interest if they never heard from their favorites.
The rise of Netflix’s Drive to Survive has also made this media exposure even more important. Fans of the sport want to hear what their favorite driver has to say after a race, even if (and often especially if) it was a bad result. Most drivers don’t enjoy their media duties, but it’s an important part of the job that they need to fulfill as a Formula 1 driver.
Formula 1 drivers often use their post-race interviews to publicly praise their teams after a good result. Praising their team is not only good for their reputation, but it can also serve as a great morale booster for the team members at the track and back at the factory. During a long and tiring season, these morale boosters can make a huge difference.
Another factor that makes media duties incredibly important in Formula 1 is sponsorship. Formula 1 teams and the sport itself thrives on sponsorship. When it comes to sponsors, engagement and interaction is what provides them with the value they get in return for spending millions of dollars on a Formula 1 team.
The logos on the car don’t sell products, but plastering them on the race suit of a charismatic driver can. If a team has a driver that is great for PR and engagement, they can provide their sponsors with a lot more value than lower-profile drivers. Media interviews will be crucial when it comes to reaching the required engagement and interaction from drivers.
KEY POINTS• Media interviews are one of the main ways F1 generates attention for the sport across the globe
• Doing these interviews after every session is simply part of being an F1 driver
• These interviews also get eyes on sponsor logos
Do F1 Drivers Get Fined If They Don’t Face The Media?
F1 drivers can get fined if they don’t face the media, with the fines often reaching upwards of $25,000. Drivers may decline to face the media after a particularly bad result, but this will normally result in punishment from the FIA, as doing these interviews is one of F1’s many rules.
Formula 1 drivers have to give interviews after a race, even if they had a bad result. The rules of Formula 1 require drivers to answer to the media after any given session, no matter how badly it went. If a driver does not face the media after a session, they will be breaching the rules that Formula 1 has set out for them to follow.
Formula 1 drivers will be fined for not conducting post-race interviews. In 2017, Max Verstappen was fined $25,000 for not attending his post-race interviews in the media pen at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. After retiring from the race with an oil pressure issue, Verstappen said that he didn’t feel like going through the interview process and just attended his team debrief before leaving the track.
Is It Common For F1 Drivers To Skip Media Interviews?
Incidents like these are rare to find in Formula 1 as most drivers don’t have an issue with conducting post-race interviews. However, in some rare cases drivers simply do not have the energy or emotional capacity to deal with the intrusive and difficult questions that they have to face in the Formula 1 media pen.
For context, Max Verstappen was coming off his fourth retirement in six races, so it’s understandable that he wasn’t up for the questions that the media had ready for him after the race!
Why Do F1 Teams Record Driver Interviews?
F1 teams record driver interviews to ensure they have a recording of everything the driver says, in case a media outlet misquotes them. Media outlets are always looking for controversial stories, and teams are always trying to avoid them, and recording driver interviews is one way they do this.
If you see a Formula 1 driver in the media pen, they are usually accompanied by another team member. This team member is usually recording everything that they say to the media during their time spent in the media pen. No matter which media outlet the driver is speaking to, the team member will record everything they say.
The team member that accompanies the driver in the media pen is their PR representative. These PR representatives are hired by the team to monitor and to an extent control the information that is sent out to the media. The PR representative acts as an assistant to the driver during interviews.
The Role Of The PR Representative
If a driver has a bad race, the PR representative’s job becomes even more important. They can influence what the driver says, and if the driver is sharing information that puts the team in a bad light, it’s their job to control the situation and stop them if they can.
They will often brief the drivers in terms of what they need to say to the media to come across as “PR friendly” and not damage the reputation of the driver, the team, and their sponsors.
A PR representative will record every interview the driver does as it allows them to keep a record of what the driver says in any interview. If a media outlet twists the words of a driver or paints them in a negative light, the team has a recording of the interview to rebut them with.
This recording may help them to get out of hot water if the driver’s words have been misinterpreted by the media. In essence, the PR representative is there to ensure that the interviews go according to plan, and that the driver does not say anything that could be considered negative by the media.
The Media Outlets
Media outlets will often ask the drivers intrusive or difficult questions that allow them to write controversial articles about the driver or the teams.
This could prompt a driver to answer the question in a way that paints the team in a negative light. With a trained PR professional handy, the drivers will be able to answer any questions in the “correct” way that doesn’t throw their team under the bus in front of the media, as this would be bad for the entire team and their sponsors.
KEY POINTS• F1 drivers can be fined thousands of dollars for skipping their media duties
• It’s very rare a driver will do this as they know it’s part of the rules
• Drivers have their interviews recorded by PR personnel to ensure they are not misquoted
F1 drivers can be fined up to $25,000 for not doing media interviews as this is a breach of the Formula 1 regulations. Formula 1 insists on drivers conducting interviews because it’s essential for the sport’s promotion and overall reputation, so drivers simply must do it or they’ll be punished.