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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bishop Believes F1 Fans on Social Media Are Surrounded by ‘Toxicity’ – “It Is Bullying”

Aishwary Gaonkar
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EXCLUSIVE: Matt Bishop Believes F1 Fans on Social Media Are Surrounded by ‘Toxicity’ - “It Is Bullying”

The immense growth F1 has witnessed in the past few years wouldn’t have come if not for digital platforms and social media. The increasing presence and engagement on social media platforms like Twitter (now X), Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube by F1 has helped boost the quantum of new audiences. F1 journalist Matt Bishop believes that 99% of F1 fans are “marvelous”. However, he feels there is an element of toxicity always present on social media. In an exclusive conversation with The SportsRush‘s Tanish Chachra, Bishop gave his insights on the unfortunate side of social media fandom.

He stated, “As regards the toxicity that we sometimes see on social media around Formula 1 fans. I think that 99% of Formula 1 fans are marvelous whether they be Lewis Hamilton fans or Max Verstappen fans or fans of every other driver.”

Bishop pointed out how if he is praising Hamilton, Verstappen fans criticize him. And the converse happens too when he praises the Dutchman. So, the 61-year-old feels that the effect of this toxic behavior on platforms like Twitter affects many young users to engage in it.

He stated, “Both young, vulnerable people probably find it extremely disconcerting, upsetting, and depressing to engage on social media and have to withstand or cope with that degree of bullying and it is bullying.”

As a solution, Bishop feels “fans should do better”. Precisely so, as the extremity in F1 fanbases has increased radically on social media which doesn’t yield any positive effects. Besides this, the British journalist also thinks, “Platforms such as Twitter should do more to curb or control that degree of negative posting.”

It is difficult to say whether these kinds of restrictions can come in, but fans can certainly look to be more welcoming and open to all sorts of opinions on social media rather than trolling and bullying others in an unreasonable manner.

Matt Bishop gives his verdict on Netflix’s Drive to Survive

One more aspect that has divided fans and is a big point of contention in F1 forums is Netflix’s Drive to Survive (DTS). Since 2019, the purist old-school fans don’t like the new waves of fans that have come due to DTS. Oftentimes, the newer fans face trolling for getting interested in the sport via DTS.

However, these new fans are not at fault. Netflix’s docu-series on F1 has got a few fundamental flaws that have many critics. Matt Bishop also shed light on how he feels about overhyped dramatic elements and fake rivalry storylines in the show.

He praised DTS for being “a positive invention or tool” for F1 to grow into new territories and fanbase demographics. However, he further added how Netflix has “sacrificed something in the way of authenticity or even accuracy”.

The 61-year-old gave the example of former McLaren teammates Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris’s relationship. While people know how Norris and Sainz have always got along well and had a “playful” relationship, Bishop pointed out how DTS showcased them to be “at each other’s throats”.

Similarly, Bishop also mentioned how Toto Wolff and Christian Horner’s tussle in Season 5 was not an ideal example for the young generation. He reasoned and questioned how the two senior team principals are “perfectly happy to swear at each other even though they see the Netflix cameras present or perhaps even because they see the Netflix cameras present”.

F1 drivers are also along the same lines in their criticism of the show as Bishop. Many, including Max Verstappen, have voiced their objections on how Netflix showcases fake narratives of rivalries amongst drivers that are not real. The situation has been so extreme that Verstappen has willingly opted to stay out of the show’s production previously in Season 4.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Aishwary Gaonkar

Aishwary Gaonkar

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Aishwary Gaonkar is the F1 Editor at The SportsRush. Having written over 757 articles about different aspects of the sport, Aishwary passionately likes to dive deep into the intricacies of the on-track events. He has been an avid F1 fan since the 2011 season, amid Sebastian Vettel's dominance. Besides the 4-time champion, he also likes Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Among the current drivers, he thinks Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri have championship-winning caliber. Longing for a Ferrari world championship, Aishwary is also a fan of Aston Martin's underdog story and their bid to win the F1 championship. Other than F1, he follows tennis and cricket too.

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