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#1 Greem

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 18:43

Does anyone else find it annoying when drivers refer to themselves as "we" or "us"?
Mat Jackson gave a particularly good example of this in his interview after the first BTCC race at Knockhill today - as far as I can tell he didn't refer to himself as I or Me at any point, preferring we/our/us instead. I know some drivers feel they are at one with the car (and/or the team) but to do it continually shows a certain degree of distance from reality...
I'd bet there have been a fair few in F1 and other series over the years. I seem to recall Our Nige doing it occasionally, but not to the extent seen today!

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#2 Victor_RO

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 18:45

Does anyone else find it annoying when drivers refer to themselves as "we" or "us"?
Mat Jackson gave a particularly good example of this in his interview after the first BTCC race at Knockhill today - as far as I can tell he didn't refer to himself as I or Me at any point, preferring we/our/us instead. I know some drivers feel they are at one with the car (and/or the team) but to do it continually shows a certain degree of distance from reality...
I'd bet there have been a fair few in F1 and other series over the years. I seem to recall Our Nige doing it occasionally, but not to the extent seen today!


They only talk in PR-speak in front of regular interviewers.

Edited by Victor_RO, 16 August 2009 - 18:45.


#3 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 18:46

It is a bit cliche, but I don't think it's inappropriate, there are way more people involved in even getting a car on the track than just the driver.


And isn't third person referring to yourself by name?

#4 LuckyStrike1

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:01

Not really, I've always taken it as a reference to the team behind the driver and the wish to stress they do it together in good and bad.

#5 potmotr

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:04

Nigel Mansell was one of the early pioneers of "we".

Nige and the Royal family.


#6 FonzCam

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:08

I think it's great that they talk about being part of a team but you're right sometimes it goes a bit far and stops being appropriate.

For example here's Webber on the last race

"I think we would have had a better chance to fight with Kimi if we'd made a slightly different pit stop and chose a different tyre for the middle stint, but that was my call. I was worried about how long the middle stint was, so it was quite difficult to know which tyre to put on."

Clearly here 'we' is the team but he also talks about himself in the first person.

But sometimes it goes a bit far here's Shumacher on having to cancel his return to F1.

"We have prepared ourselves very seriously, we have done as much as we could do from our side, but right from the beginning, Ferrari and ourselves always mentioned that I would do the job under the condition of being ready for it. It's sad that in the end I couldn't fulfil this target."

He is the only one being prepared the rest of his team (trainers, manager, doctors etc) might have helped but the use of 'we' here just doesn't make sense. He seems to switch back at the end of the quote but "We have prepared ourselves very seriously" just doesn't make sense.

I think it comes from the same school of International Standard Racing Driver English as 'for sure'

#7 postajegenye

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:09

It only annoys me when they say 'we' referring to situations which are entirely up to the driver alone - I mean, "unfortunately, we spun", "we made a mistake in the xy corner", etc.

#8 undersquare

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:11

At least they don't say "unfortunately, one spun off" :lol:

#9 spacepig

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:12

It's first person plural, and almost all racecar drivers in all series do it for some reason. It annoys me too. It's appropriate when you're talking about things that the whole team is responsible for, like "we had a great race," but it sounds ridiculous when referring to something the driver did himself ("we braked too late for the corner and lost it.")

#10 kismet

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:19

They're rarely - if ever - using 'we' when they actually mean 'I'.

'We' is perfectly appropriate in the context it tends to be used by race car drivers. No one says "We made a mistake on our flying lap" because that would indeed be ridiculous but "We've been a bit slow throughout the weekend" makes perfect sense. Personal accountability doesn't mean the same as compulsive limelight-hogging, and sometimes it really isn't all about you (general race-car-driver you).

On a related note, do we have an opinion on the fans who use first person plural when referring to their favourite teams? Now that would seem to make about sixteen times less sense than when an actual team member (such as a driver) does the same. "We're looking good for the win here." Hmm... No, you're not. You're not even taking part, you're just watching the race on telly. :wave:


Edit: Based on other replies, it appears some drivers may actually be guilty of the whole "we outbraked ourselves" thing after all. I can't say I've ever really noticed it but I'll take your word for it, guys.

Edited by kismet, 16 August 2009 - 19:47.


#11 OfficeLinebacker

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 19:43

I agree that it's all about being inclusive about all the people that contribute to the car.

I think they just get in a mode of saying "we" for "I." They aren't sitting there performing a parallel background calculation while they talk, parsing their words for the less common scenario of when "I" is slightly more appropriate than "we." They just say "we" for everything and I'm fine with that.

Silly to be bothered by it IMHO. Not going to change.

Also, third person singular is "him" or "her." "We" is first person plural.



#12 TinyJim

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 20:19

Apart from the obvious reference to the team because it's the teams that truly race not the drivers, a driver does have a relationship with the car and thus you get "we spun"

#13 Owen

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 20:22

Schuey always used to say 'we' when talking about his races. Did think it was kind of odd at the time. Lewis does it now and again as well.

#14 Victor_RO

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 20:23

Apart from the obvious reference to the team because it's the teams that truly race not the drivers, a driver does have a relationship with the car and thus you get "we spun"


Which reminds me of an interview with Mark Blundell after he retired in a race in 1991... (from the '91 Season Review): "There's oil on the back of our car, so we wouldn't be surprised if it was an oil leak and we spun on our own oil."

#15 alfista

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 20:38

Nigel Mansell was one of the early pioneers of "we".

Nige and the Royal family.


IIRC Nige' said "I" if he won and "we" if he didn't


#16 DOF_power

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 20:45

I'm personally used to the use of the words "we".

And it is relative from what I've personally seen.
Some old drivers like Stirling Moss who would constantly say "I" thins and "I" that, but wouldn't mention the rest of the team.
Others Jack Brabham on the other hand did use the words "we". I guess that's why Moss never won a championship, as by his own admission he said he could never see racing as something akin to a military operation.

#17 Impellam

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 20:45

I recall some years ago Tiff Needell was a client of ours, and when he rang up he used to say "are we going to be able to sort out xxxx.... for little Tiff". To our un-ending amusement, the answer was always "no, unless you want to pay for it". He never did.

#18 Norm

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 21:42

They're rarely - if ever - using 'we' when they actually mean 'I'.

'We' is perfectly appropriate in the context it tends to be used by race car drivers. No one says "We made a mistake on our flying lap" because that would indeed be ridiculous but "We've been a bit slow throughout the weekend" makes perfect sense. Personal accountability doesn't mean the same as compulsive limelight-hogging, and sometimes it really isn't all about you (general race-car-driver you).

On a related note, do we have an opinion on the fans who use first person plural when referring to their favourite teams? Now that would seem to make about sixteen times less sense than when an actual team member (such as a driver) does the same. "We're looking good for the win here." Hmm... No, you're not. You're not even taking part, you're just watching the race on telly. :wave:


Edit: Based on other replies, it appears some drivers may actually be guilty of the whole "we outbraked ourselves" thing after all. I can't say I've ever really noticed it but I'll take your word for it, guys.


too funny.

#19 madraykin

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 22:01

On a related note, do we have an opinion on the fans who use first person plural when referring to their favourite teams? Now that would seem to make about sixteen times less sense than when an actual team member (such as a driver) does the same. "We're looking good for the win here." Hmm... No, you're not. You're not even taking part, you're just watching the race on telly. :wave:

Oh god, that drives me up the wall. There was one forum where it was so bad that I eventally stopped visiting for the sake of my blood pressure (well, that among other things).

Edited by madraykin, 16 August 2009 - 22:01.


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#20 Just waiting

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 22:02

" We" is fine and great
what i can not stand is how some folks refer to themselves by name...

Q: "How did it go to day,Lewis?"
Answer: "Lewis was doing well right up to the point where we spun out but Lewis quickly regained control......." :drunk: :stoned:

#21 noikeee

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Posted 16 August 2009 - 23:03

Oh god, that drives me up the wall. There was one forum where it was so bad that I eventally stopped visiting for the sake of my blood pressure (well, that among other things).


People use it all the time for teams in other sports, why not in F1.

#22 Henrytheeigth

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 05:32

Only I, and Royal persons like I, can use the Royal term "We" ok? Don't anyone forget that! :p lol

#23 Chezrome

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 06:09


Quite funny. Dutch soccerplayers do it too, and have been doing it for a long time. Perhaps some drivers use the 'we' part to emphasize that racing is a personal sport... but I think the reason is largely psychological. By using 'we' both credit and blame are put at a distance.

#24 Owen

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 06:51

Quite funny. Dutch soccerplayers do it too, and have been doing it for a long time. Perhaps some drivers use the 'we' part to emphasize that racing is a personal sport... but I think the reason is largely psychological. By using 'we' both credit and blame are put at a distance.

Great point :up:

#25 evo

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 06:59

To be serious, how good can a racing driver's comprehension of the English language be if they have been mostly at the track instead of at school?

I can understand if some drivers like Schuey were to say 'we' instead of 'I' because their development was largely dependant on team communication and "PRspeak".

I would like to know if drivers in their native language said 'we' when 'I' should've been used.


BTW, this is all speculation and may or may not be true. :)

#26 Demo.

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:25

Does anyone else find it annoying when drivers refer to themselves as "we" or "us"?
Mat Jackson gave a particularly good example of this in his interview after the first BTCC race at Knockhill today - as far as I can tell he didn't refer to himself as I or Me at any point, preferring we/our/us instead. I know some drivers feel they are at one with the car (and/or the team) but to do it continually shows a certain degree of distance from reality...
I'd bet there have been a fair few in F1 and other series over the years. I seem to recall Our Nige doing it occasionally, but not to the extent seen today!



How many people slag off drivers if they speak of I, me, my.
calling them big headed and self obsessed.
They are damned if they do and damned if they dont.
Its PR speak thats all.

#27 Rob

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 07:59

Casey Stoner does this all the time. I don't know why, but it really annoys me.

"We had to have an operation."
"We fell off the bike."
"We've been ill."

Argh! :evil:


#28 alfista

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 08:05

I would like to know if drivers in their native language said 'we' when 'I' should've been used.


Some of them do in my country and it's even more bizarre. I think they act like "let's do it as big boys do" to look more serious and professional.
It's OK if someone says "we" about team effort like sorting out setup or something. But saying "we overtook driver X" is ridiculous in every language.

It's little off-topic but it always makes me furious when our soccer or basketball commentators on TV say "We will play with team Z tomorrow" or "We lost to team Y yesterday" about the national team. Who is this we? They (commentators) are not members of the squad nor is TV audience.

#29 Gypsy

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 12:43

On a related note, do we have an opinion on the fans who use first person plural when referring to their favourite teams? Now that would seem to make about sixteen times less sense than when an actual team member (such as a driver) does the same. "We're looking good for the win here." Hmm... No, you're not. You're not even taking part, you're just watching the race on telly. :wave:

That drives me crazy. It makes me want to hurt people. One or two are guilty of it here, but it's nowhere near as bad as other forums I've visited.

#30 Buckethead

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 13:01

heh, you can tell that it has been long time since the last race. Stupid topics just keep coming. Racing is a team sport.

#31 wewantourdarbyback

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 15:04

That drives me crazy. It makes me want to hurt people. One or two are guilty of it here, but it's nowhere near as bad as other forums I've visited.


Glad I drive you crazy :kiss: I'm a football fan so I automatically carry that across to my support of Williams.


As for the OP I'm pretty sure they're referring to the team as well.

#32 Tony Matthews

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 15:15

Nigel Mansell was one of the early pioneers of "we".

I don't - sorry, we don't remember him saying that before he went to the States, where it was already well established, and I - we - assumed it was a way of reflecting the input of the team as a whole. At first it sounds like false modesty, but you get - one gets - used to it - sort of. We think (I'g getting the hang of it!) one should use a mix.

We overheard Al Unser Sr taking a congratulatory phone call after his 2nd/3rd? place finish at Indy in 1983, and his response was "Well, we tried, by golly!"

Edited by Tony Matthews, 17 August 2009 - 15:15.


#33 ForeverF1

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 15:38

We (collective household), find it hilarious that people get their knickers in such a twist over a simple saying. :lol:

#34 Rob

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 15:39

We are an individual.

#35 Tony Matthews

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 15:44

We are an individual.

If not a grandmother...

#36 Kop Alonso

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 15:50

I don't - sorry, we don't remember him saying that before he went to the States, where it was already well established, and I - we - assumed it was a way of reflecting the input of the team as a whole. At first it sounds like false modesty, but you get - one gets - used to it - sort of. We think (I'g getting the hang of it!) one should use a mix.

We overheard Al Unser Sr taking a congratulatory phone call after his 2nd/3rd? place finish at Indy in 1983, and his response was "Well, we tried, by golly!"



I definetly remember Nige giving an interview after the British GP in 1990 , (where he threw a hissy fit & was going to retire ...) where he was throwing the "We's " around left right & centre....

He may have even chucked a "For sure " in for good measure ...

:clap:

#37 stevvy1986

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 16:07

I don't see the big deal. Not like it's important if they say we or I, and it's not like people are going to listen to each interview and see which they say, and decide whether they were right to say that, or they should have said the other 1 (and I'd be extremely worried if someone did do that). Certainly doesn't annoy me though, and if it annoys people, well, their lives must be fantastic if that's the 1 thing that annoys them.

Edited by stevvy1986, 17 August 2009 - 16:08.


#38 Tony Matthews

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 16:35

Who said it was a big deal?

#39 HoldenRT

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 16:50

We = team. It's a team sport. Even if the driver drives a great races and flogs everyone, he couldn't have done it without the engineers, mechanics, sponsors etc etc. It's "I" if he did all of that himself, but even the people that raced their own cars still need help and some teamwork from others to get the job done. It's maybe a bit unusual compared to other sports, but it makes sense and it would look like the driver is selfish if he kept saying "I" after everyone else says "we".

I like how Webber seperated his tyre choice mistake with "I", because alot of drivers use the "we" thing to hide errors that they make. "We made an unfortunate error today" after he plants it into the wall, and braking too lost or losing traction.

It might not seem like it to the casual viewer, but when the drivers are out there, they aren't just driving for the personal glory, they are carrying the hopes and dreams of 20-30 people back in their garage and hundreds of people back at the factory. Which is why it's a big boost when the drivers visit the factory. Don't know how big of a boost it was when Piquet or Naka visits the factory, but you know what I mean.

It's not just PR, it's reality. Any weak link in the chain lets the whole team down. When a tired factory worker makes a small mistake on the manufacture of a part it can fail, cancelling out all the good work done by everyone else or if the driver has an incident or driver error same thing. These things can hurt team morale alot, and morale is pretty important for F1. Especially when you got McLaren guys working 30 hours straight to beat a deadline to get a new part on the car.

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#40 HoldenRT

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 16:53

On a related note, do we have an opinion on the fans who use first person plural when referring to their favourite teams? Now that would seem to make about sixteen times less sense than when an actual team member (such as a driver) does the same. "We're looking good for the win here." Hmm... No, you're not. You're not even taking part, you're just watching the race on telly. :wave:


Edit: Based on other replies, it appears some drivers may actually be guilty of the whole "we outbraked ourselves" thing after all. I can't say I've ever really noticed it but I'll take your word for it, guys.

I don't think I do this, but I have to say, I understand this one as well and it doesn't annoy me.

I mean.. football fans do it right? Why not F1? Both are team sports. To identify yourself as a part of the team and feel apart of it is a positive thing I think. If you asked the teams if they want their fans to think of themselves as a part of the team, I think they would be happier with it that way.

Maybe the "we are about to win" is pushing it, but if Ferrari fans post in a Ferrari topic.. "I hope we can have a good race this weekend guys", can't see much problem.

#41 ensign14

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Posted 17 August 2009 - 17:48

I would like to know if drivers in their native language said 'we' when 'I' should've been used.

Using the first person plural instead of singular is something that seems to go back to proto-Indo-European...