Parc Fermé

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

Motor racing fans, on the whole are a rare breed of sports fans. On the most part they will respect and admire teams, drivers and riders who they do not necessarily support. That’s how it has always been in motor racing, a mutual appreciation of those who go out on the track every race putting their life on the line to bring us the exhilarating entertainment that we crave for time and time again.

Then are those who I will not and could not give the time of day too. On social media they can be referred to as ‘trolls’ or even the term ‘fan-boys’ or ‘fan-girls’ – these are people who like the majority of motor racing fans have a particular team or racer they support, yet through ignorance, rudeness and a lack of education find it totally acceptable to abuse and make ridiculous statements about other racers and their fans. They only see those they support.

Personally, I don’t regard these type of people as proper race fans. It is evident from their tunnel-visioned support that they are passionate about the person or team they follow but in respect of views on others they lack the social skills and requirements to be given the time of day. I have no time for them.

I enjoy sitting down with fellow race fans (be it in person or via social media) and having debates, discussions and sharing opinions on all manner of things involved in racing. What makes these discussions so much different is that even if there is a difference of opinion on a specific subject it is done with civility and a mutual respect of our understanding of motor racing. Unlike the trolls who sometimes pop up in the middle of a perfectly good conversation and start to abuse the person who they do not agree with. Fortunately social media has this thing called a ‘block’ button and I have no issues using this instead of getting myself tied up in their world of selfish, uneducated rudeness.

Social media is a wonderful tool across all platforms in sport, business and life. There will always be those who will want to spoil it for those who use the different facilities. My advice is just pass them over and don’t let them wind you up.

These ‘fan-boy/girls’ sadly can’t see further than the racer they support with so much gusto. It’s a real shame. I am not alone in the fact that I have certain racers and teams that I support and I will if in a ‘normal’ discussion with a fellow, friendly race fan put my full support behind said team/racers but I am also old enough and wise enough to be able to appreciate when a team or racer I follow has not performed well or is being out-performed by a team mate.

It is as if these trolls will readily slander and pick an argument with anybody just because their favourite racer isn’t doing what he’s supposed to do. Over the weekend whilst watching the Singapore Grand Prix I was, as a race fan, entertained by the battle between Kvyat and Verstappen. I truly do think that Verstappen is an exciting prospect and a future world champion, I like what he has brought to the F1 stage. Meanwhile, over on social media there were trolling Max Verstappen fans swearing and shouting that Kvyat was being….and I quote “a dick for not moving out the way”. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I didn’t bother replying as that would just cause these fan-boys/girls to go into overdrive and I’ve got far more interesting things to do than argue with them.

At the end of the day where Max was concerned, that’s racing kid. Deal with it. As for the trolls, I can’t believe you think that ‘racing’ is moving out of the way of somebody. I think you need to go and read up on that.

We are all fully aware of the Rosberg and Hamilton fan wars over social media, it’s just laughable really that these trolls can only the see the good in their driver and the bad in the other, or vice versa. I find it quite sad really. The same happened last year with the Rossi and Marquez dramatics and the idiotic comments that were made.

As I said earlier I am all for opinions and debates with rival fans of rival teams and racers, I really enjoy those discussions with like-minded racing fans. The trolls however are just an annoyance and although they have and are entitled to their opinion I personally wouldn’t get too involved with them. You’re on to a losing battle otherwise.

These types of people are not new to motor racing, it’s human nature and they have been around for years it’s just that with the onslaught of social media the trolling opinions are magnified to a global audience. It is much the same as the bigoted person in the local pub who will not listen to any other views apart from their own. Just give them a wide berth.

And this is the point. Everybody should have an opinion, yet some should sit back and take a long hard look at themselves because sometimes as with all of us and I am included in this, your opinion may not be the correct one.

This is racing and our opinions as fans make it an interesting world, just steer clear of the trolls. They’re not proper race fans.

Racing is full of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Neil Simmons

Twitter: @world_racing

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