Lotus Formula One team’s habit of taking an outspoken, tongue-in-cheek approach to social media once again proved to shame them on Sunday after they directly tweeted the Marussia team seconds after Jules Bianchi’s horrifying accident that has left him in a critical conditions.
Bianchi suffered serious head injuries after he collided with a recovery vehicle that was already attending to a crash involving Adrian Sutil. After initial confusion as to why the safety car had been deployed, suggestions that it was for either Sutil’s accident or the increasing rain were soon dismissed when it emerged Bianchi had also been involved in a much more serious collision.
Bianchi underwent a three-hour operation on his brain yesterday night at the Mie Prefectural General Medical Centre in Yokkaichi after being transported by ambulance from the Suzuka medical centre. His father, Philippe, confirmed that a CT scan showed he was in a critical condition, and the Frenchman underwent surgery to alleviate a subdural haematoma. Once the news had filtered through to the broadcast commentators that Bianchi had been involved in the crash, the live feed showed a picture of the Marussia team back in the pits looking hugely concerned, given that there had been no contact with their driver after he was knocked unconscious.
However, the Lotus Twitter account immediately tweeted Marussia to tell them to “Cheer up”, which unsurprisingly triggered a massive backlash from users who had not seen the intended funny side of the message.
Lotus soon issued an apology for their message, and explained that they had not realised the situation that was unfolding at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix.
They said: “Apologies for tweet, @Marussia_F1Team, we hadn't see the incident, hope all is well.”
Later on, they added: “All our thoughts and prayers go to @Jules_Bianchi, his team and his family tonight. #ForzaJules.”
Apologies for tweet, @Marussia_F1Team, we hadn't see the incident, hope all is well.; Lotus F1 Team (@Lotus_F1Team) October 5, 2014
The error of judgement comes as the latest controversy surrounding the Lotus Twitter account. They were heavily criticised for their response to the news that Kimi Raikkonen would be leaving the team to join Ferrari at the end of 2013.
The man behind the September tweet, Stephane Samson, was later dismissed after he posted a second controversial post that showed two men kissing with the message “Ahead of the opening ceremony, we would like to wish all athletes a successful 2014 Olympic Winter Games”.Reuse content