Former Formula 1 driver and referee in certain races Emanuele Pirro, revealed that his life changed after he penalized Sebastian Vettel at the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, which took the victory from Vettel Vettel was leading on the Gilles Villeneuve track in 2019 when he made a minor mistake in corner number 4.
The referees found that the Ferrari driver had returned unsafely to the track, forcing Lewis Hamilton, who was in 2nd place, to slow down abruptly to avoid contact. The four-time world champion received a five-second penalty for which he had to settle for second place, and the victory went to the Mercedes driver.
Pirro was one of the referees of that race, therefore one of those who made this decision. The days after the race was a torment as he received death threats from some fans. Two years later, he revealed how his life had changed since then.
"It was very unpleasant, it changed my life, but also my perception, now my attitude towards social networks is quite different. It hurts me more when I see people complaining." "Social networks express characteristics that we all more or less have, and those are regrets and frustrations, ”Pirro said in the podcast Beyond The Grid.
“Social networks provide a tool for many people to express their frustration. Unfortunately, not with the knowledge needed to analyze certain things, and that was really embarrassing, ”he added.
The Italian regrets that there were people who did not understand the sanction and believes that this was a defeat for motorsport.
In any case, he reminds us that fans do not have the same knowledge or the same perception of things that referees have. "More than all the insults I received, it was because I made a direct decision. People didn’t understand it, and in the end, the whole Formula 1 motorsport lost something because most people had a bad perception."
"In the end, we made a decision about the incident, and that was embarrassing for the entire Formula 1 because it was misunderstood. ” That day in Canada, Vettel was very close to victory. The German has not won since the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix, and Pirro believes fans have been overwhelmed by the desire for the four-time champion to win to make up for the bad ride.
"This hurts me because I love sports. I thought: for God's sake, why don't they understand that the one who has to win, has to win and that it's not the one you want to win." "I think everyone wanted Sebastian Vettel to win because he was going through a hard time, it was just a wonderful story, ”he explains.
The Italian referee justifies that he did nothing wrong, because he only applied the sport's rules. In his opinion, he did not steal Sebastian's victory, but made this sport fair. "If you score a goal and you are in an illegal position, you are in an illegal position. Someone has to make a decision in order for the sport to be fair, ”concluded Pirro.