Forumla 1: Drivers told to cut back on racy language

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F1 DRIVERS have been told to mind their language after world champion Sebastian Vettel and race winner Kimi Raikkonen turned the air blue on the 
podium at last Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

A spokesman for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said yesterday that a private and ‘friendly’ letter had been sent to all teams’ communications directors about the bad language.

The letter reminded them that it was “very much our collective responsibility to make sure drivers are aware such language has no place during media events”. It added that swearing in broadcast interviews “shines an unwelcome beam of adverse publicity on their teams and sponsors, the sport and FIA”.

Raikkonen, whose win for Lotus was the first of his comeback and first by the 2007 world champion since he was at Ferrari in 2009, is well known for his taciturn nature and much of what he says in English can be hard to follow. He was perfectly intelligible on the Abu Dhabi podium, however, when interviewed by former McLaren team mate turned television pundit David Coulthard.

“Last time you guys was giving me s**t because I didn’t really smile enough,” declared the Finn.

Vettel, Red Bull’s championship leader who finished third, said in the same podium session that starting from the pit lane was “obviously a chance to f**k it up and we didn’t do that”.