This is why we can’t have expressive Formula One drivers. Renault Driver Nico Hulkenberg made a joke about Force India’s new pink livery and it backfired on social media.
The German driver spent a long time at Force India, but will compete with Renault this season after deciding that he wants to drive for a works team. When Force India unveiled their new pink livery, Hulkenberg took to Twitter to say:
— Nico Hülkenberg (@HulkHulkenberg) March 14, 2017
To which Force India replied:
but we thought you just LOVED adorable pink little things! 💕 pic.twitter.com/VFNQkE9JRq
— Sahara Force India (@ForceIndiaF1) March 14, 2017
No harm done, but it wouldn’t be a 21st century social media exchange without individuals desperately trying to make it all about themselves, would it? Hulkenberg was accused of being “unprofessional” and “covertly sexist” in his comments.
Who are fans to dictate what is professional or not? He’s allowed to make a joke, maybe these drivers aren’t as bubble-wrapped as those hurling out the abuse for making a simple comment on not liking the livery -And the moment Force India respond to the joke with another, you’d anticipate people to understand the tone.
The sexism accusation is also ludicrous. Those who were making the accusation were themselves attributing a gender to the colour pink, their own prejudices defeating their own argument. Interestingly, one of the more popular comments making this accusation of sexism also called masculinity “toxic”.
Sexism in motorsport does exist. We’ve written a few things about it too, but looking for it when it isn’t there only weakens the genuine observations of actual sexism.
The perception that these drivers have to have extensive PR training to operate on a very formal level was something that used to be assumedly down to the large quantity of corporate entities on a driver’s overalls and watching on from afar. Little did we know that this void of character is actually a way to protect the drivers from those who don’t have the aptitude to understand a light-hearted joke when they see one.
Funnily, many were commenting on Hulkenberg’s post expecting that he would have to take it down. One user wrote, “If this post is still up after an hour, I’ll eat my hat”, to which Hulkenberg replied, “enjoy your meal.”