Formula 1 is to take legal action over websites which publish untrue and fabricated stories about the sport on April Fool’s Day.
Chase Carey has described such websites as “irresponsible”, adding that publications only create such stories to see a spike in their website traffic on April 1.
“People used to love April Fool’s Day, but in 2019’s climate of fake news and clickbait, nobody knows what to believe. What I’m saying now could easily be misconstrued, falsely reported or completely misquoted tomorrow.”
Legal action on April Fool’s Day stories marks an unprecedented move, with F1 being the first business to actively seek ending the light-hearted stories. If other companies and businesses also follow F1’s lead, the move could effectively bring an end to April Fool’s Day, a tradition which can be traced back to the days of renowned F1-nut Geoffrey Chaucer.
At Lights Out, ideas mooted for April Fool’s Day stories this year included Pirelli introducing 97 new tyre compounds and extending their range from C1 to C100, plus a story about drivers no longer being permitted to grow facial hair for performance advantages. We ultimately decided not to publish any of these stories out of respect for the new April 1 guidelines, and also because the writer of the blog “could not be bothered” to write an April Fool’s Day article this year. Other websites have not heeded the new guidelines set by Formula 1 and can expect to feel the wrath of the sport’s legal team in the coming hours.
It’s not the first time F1 has taken legal action over misinformation in the press. In 1999, Bernie Ecclestone sued The Sun for claiming he was two inches shorter than he really is.
Do you agree with Formula 1’s new guidelines on April Fool’s Day stories? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.