Dear Mr. Inoue,
On behalf of a grieving worldwide community of racing drivers, mechanics, journalists, and fans all around the globe, I would like to ask you to please take your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or whichever device you choose to post to social media, pick it up, and chuck it into the Monaco harbor, or at least outside your apartment window. At the bare minimum, just delete your Twitter app, your Facebook app, your Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, what have you – and have it wiped off your phone.
Do that real quick, and then take an indefinite amount of time to just shut the hell up.
For much of the last two and a half years since opening your Twitter account, you’ve been able to coast off the fact that you have been, to your credit, one of the most self-deprecating and good-humored backmarkers in Formula 1 history. Never a month goes by without a reference to the time you tried to put the fire out of your broken-down Footwork Hart in the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix, only to be bowled over by the FIA Medical Car that ironically was meant to come to your aid and assistance. Maybe a reference to the time your awkward driving forced a shunt between title contenders Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill at Monza a month later. In 2013 you were named Autosport’s Worst F1 Driver in the last twenty years, and you were as proud of receiving that honor as if you had just won the Formula 1 World Championship.
You will always own up to your sub-par performances at backmarker teams in an eighteen-race career that saw you make relatively unheralded Footwork teammate Gianni Morbidelli look like a prime Alberto Ascari by comparison. It is that sort of driving that you now speak out against as a talent manager for young Japanese drivers, though to be quite frank, having the utterly forgettable, except when driving in a ninth-rate feeder series, Kimiya Sato be the shining star of your roster of managed talent reflects rather poorly on your overall ability in that category of racing as well (however, as a fan of the Super GT series, I will gladly welcome Mr. Sato with open arms this season as he takes on a part time role with JLOC in the GT300 class. The new Huracán GT3 will look nice in their livery.)
And like so many others, I was in on the act. I appreciated your sense of humor. It takes a special driver to look back at something that many other drivers would consider a humiliating experience with a humorous approach.
But I haven’t followed you on Twitter in some time, Mr. Inoue. To be quite honest, even as most people still adored you for owning up to being the worst driver of your generation with laughter and chuckles, I had grown quite weary, sick, and tired of you using Twitter as your open forum to snipe many of the active drivers and hard-working teams of Formula 1 for their failures, in an act of chucking rather large boulders through the front door of your all-glass mansion. I’d grown tired of you voicing your own xenophobic opinions about Formula 1’s newer markets – such as referring to Malaysia, the host of this weekend’s Formula 1 race, as a third-world country unfit for staging a race in the World Championship even after it being a constant for nearly two decades. That was a year ago actually, and it was ultimately the last straw before I decided to hit “unfollow” for myself.
Because I was sick and tired of following a retired professional racing driver who acted like a computer-illiterate knuckle dragger posting in the comments of a YouTube video. Not when there are other accounts that actually give back to the sport in a positive manner. Not when there are other, far more likeable former F1 backmarkers out there like the brilliant commentator Karun Chandhok, or the charming and upbeat Max Chilton, drivers who rarely if ever take to twitter bash other drivers and teams, only when it is absolutely warranted.
But that’s not why I’m writing this open letter today, using social media, just like yourself, to voice my own feelings and opinions. Continue reading “An Open Letter to Mr. Takachiho Inoue”