Gastaldi: Media, not teams, to blame for ‘robotic’ drivers

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Lotus deputy team principal does not believe that the Formula 1 teams are to blame for making their drivers like robots and hiding their true personality.

Earlier this week, Brazilian F1 legend Emerson Fittipaldi expressed his dismay over the current state of the sport where drivers’ personalities are unable to shine through due to restrictions put in place by the teams.

“In the United States, everyone talks about ‘freedom of speech’,” Fittipaldi told motorsport.com.

“If you drive for Ferrari, for example, before the press conference you will be told ‘you cannot say this’ or ‘you should not say that’.

“That’s s***! Am I a robot? Or am I a personality? That’s what is missing.”

When asked about Fittipaldi’s comments, Gastaldi said that Lotus does not prevent its drivers from saying what they think.

Instead, he blamed the media for making the drivers less open and expressive in the public eye for fear of their comments being misconstrued.

“I understand what Emerson’s saying but I know that we as a team don’t do anything proactive to stop our drivers from saying what they think,” Gastaldi said.

“The drivers themselves are free to decide to say what they think, but they are talking in a very different world from when Emerson was a driver.

“Now if you say anything even slightly out of the normal it’s repeated, misreported, analysed and regurgitated across all forms of media and I think many drivers have taken a wise approach to this; the less controversial you say, the less time you have to spend answering questions about it!

“This is part of the reason why drivers have evolved into sounding like politicians when asked many questions.

“They want to drive, not spend hours discussing their opinions on whether Kim Kardashian should appear on the front of Rolling Stone magazine.”