OllieF1
Shanghai 2009: Was The National Anthem Wrong On Today’s Podium?

Shanghai 2009: Was The National Anthem Wrong On Today’s Podium?

As the top three finishers stood proudly on the podium, Sebastian Vettel took delight in mouthing the words to the German national anthem. Vettel took Red Bull’s maiden win earlier today, just as he did for Scuderia Toro Rosso last year at Monza. In Italy, the race organisers played the Italian anthem for the Italian team, even though they are owned by Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz and funded by his energy drinks company, Red Bull. However, in China today, the organisers played the British national anthem for Red Bull, which has caused some confusion…

Red Bull Racing are based in Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom, and it is there that the cars are designed, built and prepared. However, the team are entered into the Formula One championship under the Austrian motor sport authority Osterreichischer Automobil, Motorrad und Touring Club. The company that owns Red Bull Racing is indeed Austrian, and several members of the team are very proud of that, hailing from the country themselves. Should Red Bull wish to appeal any decision or make official contact with the sport’s governing body, it is officially put through the team’s national motoring authority, the aforementioned OAMTC.

Of course, the team are likely to be more concerned with celebrating the win rather than discussing which specific piece of music was played just prior to the champagne being sprayed. It isn’t the first time that the national anthem has caused controversy though…

In 1995 after finishing in a fine third place for Jordan in Canada, Irvine had the Union Jack raised behind him on the podium as the rules state that the drivers will race under the nationality of their passports, which for Irvine is British. However, for Irvine’s third career podium finish in Argentina in 1997, the organisers flew the Irish Tricolour, which resulted in his family receiving threatening phone calls. For following podiums, Irvine requested that a politically-neutral shamrock flag be flown, and for the anthem to be Londonderry Air. However, the FIA stood by their rules and Irvine was always credited as being British for his following podiums.

More recently, German tabloid Bild raised the issue of McLaren’s anthem, claiming that as Mercedes own a large portion of the squad, the music played for the winning constructor in McLaren’s case should be the German national anthem. Generally speaking the article in Bild wasn’t taken too seriously and most people understand that if people really wanted to get silly about it, one could claim that McLaren are a New Zealand based team, for that was the nationality of the team’s founder, Bruce McLaren.

Oliver White

24 comments

  • I wondered about that too, Ollie – the British national anthem sounded wrong for the Red Bull team, even though their base is in England. Perhaps the organizers had lost their tape of the Austrian anthem…

  • In this case, the proper anthem music for this team would be:

    Austrian (for the owner)

    French (for the engine supplier)

    British (for the founder)

    American (for the ex-owner)

    German (for the driver)

    Just as well there isn’t a Scottish national anthem yet because that’s already over five minutes of music.

  • Just as well there isn’t a Scottish national anthem yet because that’s already over five minutes of music.

    The Scots don’t have a national anthem!? That’s another job for Steven Roy to sort out. 😀

  • I thought Scotland the Brave was generally accepted as the Scottish national anthem? Not officially, I know, but most Scots would declare it as such, I’m sure.

  • I remember there was no tape of the national Irish anthem at Spa in 1998, which posed a minor problem. Jordan, contrary to the organiser’s assumptions, was registered in Ireland rather than England and, contrary to everyone else’s assumptions, won.

    Still, given the happiness of the team on securing a 1-2 victory after such a difficult race, they probably wouldn’t have cared if they’d played “Agadoo” on the podium…

  • I thought Scotland the Brave was generally accepted as the Scottish national anthem?

    I have no idea, so I’ll have to let a Scot confirm that one.

    Still, given the happiness of the team on securing a 1-2 victory after such a difficult race, they probably wouldn’t have cared if they’d played “Agadoo” on the podium…

    I think that line can be applied to Red Bull in Shanghai as well.

  • Most of the teams are similarly mixed in origin, Alianora, although the majority are still based in England. I think the deciding factor has to be nationality of the owner, however; if and when Toyota get their first win, we’ll hear the Japanese tune, and, presuming that Force India eventually make it to the top step, we will find out what the Indian anthem sounds like. Even BMW Sauber will have the German anthem when they win (no ifs, you’ll note) since the Beemer ownership trumps the Swiss base.

  • I think the deciding factor has to be nationality of the owner

    I largely agree with that. But I also think it was right to play the Italian anthem for STR last year. Although STR are now effectively Austrian, they are originally Italian and also still use the Faenza factory.

    Interestingly, during STR’s launch this year, they made a huge song and dance about the fact the team is considered Italian by them. They even have these gold swirls on the cars this year, that were in the launch PDF I received. It has a very distinct Italian flavour about it.

    Here’s how I see the nationality of teams, as also depicted with the little icons on the Championship Standings page:

    Ferrari: Italian

    McLaren: British

    BMW: German (although I’ll often write Swiss-German)

    Toyota: Japanese (although I’ll often write Cologne-based)

    Renault: French (although I’ll often write Anglo-French)

    Red Bull: Austrian

    STR: Italian (although I have written them as Austro-Italian)

    Williams: British

    Brawn: British

    Force India: Indian

    I always used to consider…

    Honda: Japanese

    Jordan: Irish

    Stewart: British

    Jaguar: British

    Super Aguri: Japanese

    Ligier and Prost: French

    Benetton: British (although I think I probably would have written Anglo-Italian)

  • I would agree with all of those, Ollie, with the sole exception of Benetton. To me they were Italian, both by virtue of ownership and the presence of that Flavio guy.

  • I remember a quote from a Flavio Briatore interview in BBC’s 1996 season preview, following its registration as Italian for the first time:

    “Well, we had to give it [the team] an identity. To the British, we were Italian, to the Italians, we were British and to the French, we were nobody at all…”

  • “Well, we had to give it [the team] an identity. To the British, we were Italian, to the Italians, we were British and to the French, we were nobody at all…”

    That’s a great quote, and probably sums up this entire post perfectly. To different people, teams are different nationalities. I think only Ferrari really get away with zero confusion.

    I also found out yesterday when reading up on Jarno Trulli for the Abruzzo nel Cuore post, that Jarno is in fact a Finnish name, and this apparently caused confusion when Trulli first made it in to Formula One. I don’t remember any confusion myself, but apparently so.

    From Trulli’s Wikipedia entry:

    [Jarno’s] parents were motorsport fans and named their son after Jarno Saarinen, the Finnish Grand Prix motorcycle racing champion who had been killed at Monza in 1973. This Finnish forename caused a certain amount of confusion when he first entered Formula One, with many not initially realising that he was Italian. Jarno Trulli Wikipedia Entry.

  • When I was living in Scotland, I got the impression that ‘Flower of Scotland’ was the unofficial anthem. While ‘Scotland the Brave’ certainly is the most rousing tune, no one actually knows the words… Certainly not in any pub I was in anyway, where after a few bevvies it was always Flower of Scotland sung. But I am sure Steven Roy, Robert Mackay or Dr Vee can confirm !

    I for one, am looking forward to the day when we hear that long awaited Australian anthem *fingers crossed*

  • I for one, am looking forward to the day when we hear that long awaited Australian anthem *fingers crossed*

    I’m sure we’ll get to hear it this year at some point. 🙂

  • I for one, am looking forward to the day when we hear that long awaited Australian anthem *fingers crossed*

    I’m sure we’ll get to hear it this year at some point. 🙂

    If they have it! I heard that when Alan Jones won his first race (Austria 1977), they didn’t have the Australian anthem, so instead they played happy birthday! (It wasn’t his birthday, but he wanted something to mark the occasion. Why on Earth they had happy birthday but not the anthem of one of the competitors is complete mystery).

  • At the first Olympics that Australia sent a competitor to ( I think it was Athens 1904), when he won a gold medal the organisers were so confused as to where he was from, they played the Austrian anthem instead. Thought that issue might have been clarified by 1977! Ah well, if they don’t have Advance Australia Fair (which is a **** anthem anyway) they can play the unofficial one of Khe Sahn.

  • Good to see someone has taken a good look at this issue- I believe it was raised by the SPEED broadcast team, but I was half asleep at the time!

    I had previously considered Red Bull to be a British team, but after reading about the registration perhaps the Austrain anthem should have been played. However, it’s probably a small issue for the RBR staff- they are surely more than overjoyed to make a big deal of it.In any event, obviously many key members of the RBR staff are British, and having “God Save The Queen” play is more than a fitting tribute, even if it is off a bit on the official rules.

    I have never seen a podium celebration get a major muck-up, and I am quite happy as it’s a great part of the sport that I really enjoy seeing. However, the best podiums for me will come when, someday in the not too distant future, the wonderful notes of “The Star-Spangled Banner” play, as the Stars and Strpies is hosted over the top step for the first time since…1978 I believe, but far too long regardless 😉

  • Pink Peril is correct.

    For sporting purposes Flower of Scotland is the national anthem although football and rugby fans for reasons I don’t understand skip the second of the three verses.

    I have never met anyone who knows the words to Scotland the Brave. I have heard a few innovative versions but never the original words.

  • The Podium ceremonies are organised by AllSport Management and not the local race organiser. They ensure uniformity of ceremony from race to race and have a stack of CD’s of national anthems at hand ready for the end of the race. Needless to say ‘certain’ CD’s get worn out while others have yet to be unwrapped from their cellophone jackets 😉

    I always believed that the music played for the constructor’s anthem was the nationality of the race team (the registered company that is the actual team) regardless of the nationality of the owner. Hence: Benetton/Renault = British Toro Rosso = Italian

  • I’m not 100% sure on the version I learnt while I was there Steven Roy, I have a sneaking suspicion that the references to the English that are sung are not the actual words 😉

  • If they have it! I heard that when Alan Jones won his first race (Austria 1977), they didn’t have the Australian anthem, so instead they played happy birthday! {. – 5 comments ago}

    😀 That is brilliantly daft. I’m sure they must have got the right tape in at some point, though – while hearing “Happy Birthday” once might have had a certain amusement value, still hearing it upon taking the 1980 championship would have got pretty annoying, assuming Alan wasn’t in a state where he didn’t care what song was played…

  • I always believed that the music played for the constructor’s anthem was the nationality of the race team (the registered company that is the actual team) regardless of the nationality of the owner. Hence: Benetton/Renault = British Toro Rosso = Italian

    It’s done based on which national sporting authority the team uses to sign up through. In theory, an English team with an English team owner and all-English staff could sign up as a Malaysian team. Provided the Malaysian national sporting authority agreed, the team would then be treated as Malaysian for all FIA-related purposes including podium ceremonies.

    In practise, national sporting authorities frown on anyone doing anything quite that silly. They generally only allow their authority to be used if:

    a) there is some substantial connection between the team and the nation of which they are a sporting authority. Usually this is fairly simple – the current owner of the team is likely to want their own nationality to be used and nobody will object to that (though in the case of teams where there are owners of different nationalities involved, such as at Force India, the negotiations might get interesting). Occasionally, the team owner might use the factory location instead (e.g. Toro Rosso), perhaps as a nod to the team’s heritage. In theory, any connection will do as long as the national sporting authority agrees.

    b) the nation to which the team is most closely connected doesn’t have a national sporting authority affiliated with the FIA. For example, if the Grenadans were sufficiently inspired by Lewis Hamilton to start their own team using purely Grenadan resources, they’d have a problem registering as Grenadan. You see, Grenada doesn’t have a national sporting authority affiliated by the FIA yet. Instead, the team would have to register with the nearest authority (in this case, Trinidad & Tobago) until such time as a Grenadan branch of the FIA could be established.

  • It’s done based on which national sporting authority the team uses to sign up through. In theory, an English team with an English team owner and all-English staff could sign up as a Malaysian team. Provided the Malaysian national sporting authority agreed, the team would then be treated as Malaysian for all FIA-related purposes including podium ceremonies.

    Precisely. This is how I understand it as well, and hence why it should have been the Austrian national anthem because Red Bull Racing race under an Austrian license from OAMTC.

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