Fleet Street debate reasons behind 2013 Italian GP booing of Sebastian Vettel
British press reckon Seb now 'considered ripe for vilification'
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 09/09/13 4:43pm
The vociferous nature of the booing directed at Sebastian Vettel after the Italian GP has proved the main topic of discussion in Fleet Street on Monday morning, with some sympathy expressed for the runaway title leader.
Although public jeering of Vettel has become a regular occurrence at grands prix ever since the infamous 'Multi-21' incident of Malaysia when the German ignored team orders to overtake Mark Webber for victory, the British press noted with some alarm the sustained nature of the booing dished out by the Tifosi to the 26-year-old as he stood top of the Monza podium.
Under the headline 'Unstoppable Vettel goes on boos cruise', the Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy wrote: 'On Sunday the booing for the victorious Vettel carried an intensity rare even for these parts, where they are routinely as one-eyed as Cyclops.
'Red is their colour, Ferrari is their creed, so when another German, Michael Schumacher, was strangling the life out of the sport by dint of his monotonous success, he was worshipped as a god.
'But Vettel's feats - winner of three consecutive world titles and holder of a 53-point lead over his nearest challenger, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, the runner-up - are deemed worthy of ear-splitting condemnation. His Red Bull overalls carry no allure. The decibel levels barely fell when John Surtees, world champion for Ferrari in 1964 and conducting the podium interviews, urged the fans to calm down.'
Monza was the third different race since Malaysia when Vettel has received particularly noticeable heckling by fans.
But although the 26-year-old himself put Sunday's boos down to the fact he was a rival winning on Ferrari's home turf, The Times suggested that there was a wider problem enveloping the sport.
'Vettel has won four times in the past six races, a test of resolve for even the most devoted grand-prix watcher. We have been here before, of course, with Michael Schumacher and a winning sequence that bored the fireproof pants off the sport," Kevin Eason wrote.
'Now F1 has a new mantra: Anyone but Vettel. It might be an unkind sentiment but the Monza tifosi took it to a higher and more unpleasant level as their boos tarnished the prize presentation ceremony.'
Such was the aggressive nature of the booing, that Eason also noted that even 'Webber...was disturbed by the aggressive atmosphere enveloping a young driver who cannot help being good at his day job.'
Tom Cary, The Daily Telegraph's F1 correspondent, picked up a similar theme: 'Others were less impressed by what has become a regular occurrence at races this year, rejecting the argument that the Tifosi, Ferrari's fans, boo anyone who is not wearing red by pointing out that Mark Webber, also on the podium at Monza, was not given the same treatment.
'Vettel has been booed at many races this year - including the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in June - with many linking it to his behaviour at the Malaysian Grand Prix when he disobeyed team orders and overtook Webber for the victory.'
And while the Guardian's Paul Weaver observed that the heckling 'could not wipe the smile from his champagne-splashed features' as Vettel moved one step closer to a fourth successive title, the Daily Mail concluded that 'he is considered ripe for vilification, which one suspects hurts him rather more than he dared to admit'.