Every driver who races in Formula One has their own set of fans to cheer them on. When they become champions, that adoration reaches a whole new level. However, there are F1 drivers whom the fans love to hate. Even when they win the world championship, it does little to boost their popularity among the fans.
In today’s world, fans voice their displeasure vocally by booing. Just ask Lewis Hamilton in Monza. But then again, that hate is localised and directed towards any non-Ferrari winner because Italians are known to be VERY passionate. But who would actually make it onto this undesirable list? Is the hate for them that strong?
The 2016 F1 world champion didn’t come across as a very likeable person at times during his championship season. He was often terse, sarcastic and irritable during the entirety of the season. But he can be cut some slack when the press constantly compares him to his WDC teammate.
This kind of behaviour mostly stemmed from the fact that he was not particularly fond of the media. It was even present back in his GP2 days, and his attitude probably would not have endeared him to the masses.
In the case of the Canadian driver, most of the hate came long after he retired from Formula One. He is known for saying wildly outrageous things, just to play the devils advocate.
At the time he was a fast and spectacular driver. He beat Schumacher who at the time was the F1 villain, especially after he tried to punt Villeneuve off and got instant karma.
As a pundit he made himself pretty unpopular with anyone he commented on but that changed for the better over the last two years, or has it?
Like former F1 champion James Hunt, he is opinionated, but without the charisma and far more arrogance. His attitude to some of his teammates didn’t help either. For example, he detested Robert Kubica when the latter was trouncing him. Later, after retirement, he used to criticise Kubica’s attempts at a comeback and even his own compatriot Lance Stroll. In fact, it even got him banned from the Williams motorhome.
The Brazilian was admittedly not very well-liked among fellow drivers due to his attitude. As it turned out, he had a very abrasive personality and couldn’t care less about popularity. His tussle with Eliseo Salazar when the latter took him out, was just one such example of not getting along with other drivers.
He put himself on the opposing end with a lot of big names in the sport like Mansell, Senna and a few others. The only plus side about him was that he liked playing practical jokes on his fellow drivers.
The Frenchman, nicknamed ‘The Professor’, was well-known for his cool and calculating approach. It may have worked against him as he could come off as egotistical and guarded. Prost was the kind of driver who was aware of his skillset and knew how to use it.
However, with the glorification of Senna, Prost often came off as the villain in the long run. Even the movie about the Brazilian legend seemingly painted Prost in a bad light. Most people figured that the Senna-Prost F1 rivalry ran so deep that they despised one another.
What also went against Prost was the fact that he would often use politics to gain an advantage. One example was the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix where Senna grabbed pole position. But, he was unhappy with the way the grid was positioned and requested to change pole to the racing line. While the stewards agreed, the then FIA President, Jean Marie Balestre rejected the decision.