Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc share their views on booing and use of flares at Monza in F1 Italian GP.

It has been a good fight this season between Red Bull’s Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Right now, the defending World Champion has a massive upper hand and could retain the title at the next round in Singapore.

However, there have been unsporting incidents at a number of Grands Prix lately.  Booing towards drivers, vandalism of team merchandise to name but two.  At the Dutch GP, there were issues and controversy over the use of flares at the race.

Last Sunday at Monza, once more issues arose around flares. When the Dutch national anthem was being played, there was booing at the race winner Verstappen. The Tifosi are a passionate fan base, it is well known and they love Ferrari. In 1983 at Imola, Italian Riccardo Patrese driving a Brabham was battling with Patrick Tambay, a Frenchman who was driving a Ferrari.

Patrese crashed and the tifosi went wild because their beloved Ferrari took the lead and won. Last Sunday, all the bile was aimed at Verstappen as he was the enemy against Leclerc. “When it happens, of course, everyone speaks to me about it, with the booing and stuff,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I’m here to try and win the race which done”.

“Some people, of course, they can’t appreciate that but that’s of course because they’re very passionate fans of a different team. And this is what it is. It’s not going to spoil my day. I’m just enjoying the moment,” summed up Verstappen.

In fairness, in any sport, the sporting fan base have a love hate relationship with those at the top of the tree. Verstappen like those before will be no exception. The current darling of the tifosi and chief title protagonist Leclerc gives his take on the events of the weekend too.

“I think nobody likes booing and I think it shouldn’t happen.  That’s it. But then for the flares, personally I think it’s okay when it’s used maybe before the formation lap or laps to the grid or something. But then sometimes during the race, it can be a bit confusing for us. But it’s the way it is. After the chequered flag there was a little bit but to me this was not too disturbing.”

Of course, booing in F1 and use of flares is not new but is somewhat sporadic compared to other sports. But it is sad and perhaps an indictment of society and the global coverage that the sport we all love receives.

Here’s Max Verstappen, Christian Horner on Italian GP

Here’s Charles Leclerc defending Ferrari strategy