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Seidl backs Ricciardo over F1 social media comments

McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl has backed his driver Daniel Ricciardo’s stance that Formula 1’s social media strategy can do better than just focusing on crashes.

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, McLaren

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Ricciardo grabbed the headlines recently when he lashed out at F1’s obsession with playing up accidents.

In an interview with lifestyle magazine Square Mile, Ricciardo let rip at the way that the sport had tried to glamourise smashes.

"I think last year, F1 put on their social channels, like, 'top 10 moments of the year' or something, and eight of the ten were crashes," he said. "I was just like, you guys are f*****g idiots.

"Maybe 12-year-old kids want to see that kind of content, and that's cool because they don't know any better, but we're not kids. Just do better, guys. Do better than that."

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Ricciardo subsequently apologised for using such ‘aggressive’ language in the interview, but stood by his belief that F1’s approach to showcasing the sport was wrong.

Seidl agrees with Ricciardo that F1 has many better points of interest to excite fans than just accidents – but equally says that the sport’s social media team have done a good job in recent years of increasing awareness.

“From our point of view, F1's social media team has done and is still doing an excellent job of promoting our sport,” he said. “I think if you look at the numbers also, they have delivered rapid growth in the engagement in recent years. Also, managing to connect the sport to a lot of new audiences.

“Our sport is one of the most exciting ones in the world, with plenty of interesting stories on and off track. While I would say the danger may be a part of the appeal to some fans, I agree with Daniel that there's a bigger and more positive story to be told about the sport: which F1 is also doing.

“But I also think it was clear in his [Ricciardo’s] statement in the [Imola] press conference, he simply didn't use the right language.”

Ricciardo has not been afraid to hold back in his criticisms of the messaging of the sport, having felt after last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix that F1 was wrong to keep replaying footage of Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash in the red flag stoppage race before the restart.

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