Spanish F1 journalist Antonio Lobato has issued an apology for a “clumsy” joke about the condition of Michael Schumacher that was broadcast by DAZN.
Schumacher sustained serious injuries in a skiing accident back in December 2013, when he hit his head on a rock while out on the slopes with family, including his son Mick, and friends.
The seven-time World Champion was placed into a medically induced coma for six months before returning to his home in Switzerland to continue his recovery. The family has opted to keep Schumacher’s condition private, as that’s how he chose to live even while dominating the world of Formula 1. The German is widely regarded by many as the best driver to have ever raced in Formula 1.
Antonio Lobato makes crude joke about Michael Schumacher
Sadly, his name was mentioned this past weekend in DAZN’s F1 coverage when Lobato made a clumsy joke about the 54-year-old’s health, a clip of that having gone viral on social media.
PlanetF1.com has opted not to share the wording of Lobato’s joke, but it referred to the German legend having some physical incapabilities – Lobato assuming a joking tone for the dark comment.
Lobato has since issued a video response on X (formerly Twitter), apologising for the incident.
An approach for comment from DAZN and Telefonica, who supply the broadcast to DAZN, pointed to the video issued by Lobato and confirmed that he will appear on the programme Vamos sobre Ruedas on the channel Vamos on Tuesday, where he will address and apologise once more for the “unfortunate comment”.
Some fans on social media have called for Lobato to be sacked.
“Using someone’s medical condition as the punchline of a joke is unacceptable and abhorrent. Michael is beloved and respected in this sport and Lobato doesn’t deserve the platform he is given by DAZN and F1,” wrote Ro.
Smooth Operator [not Carlos Sainz] said “Michael and his family deserve respect” while SennaGood summed it saying it’s “not f***ing funny”.
Former F1 driver turned pundit Pedro de la Rosa was also part of the broadcast but did not participate in the joke.
Antonio Lobato issues apology following Michael Schumacher joke gaffe
Here is the apology issued by DAZN F1 broadcaster Antonio Lobato, following his comments on Sunday’s coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix.
“Someday it had to be,” he said.
“One day, you have to make a serious video and this is the moment. For the first time, I’m going to make a video in a relatively serious tone to clear things up, because I want everything to be quite clear.
“First of all, I have to admit that yesterday, during the Japanese Grand Prix programme, I made a mistake without any bad intentions – although some people now try to say that I did – but without any bad intentions, without any bad faith. And it was simply a mistake of pure clumsiness, of pure inability to express myself correctly, maybe because of too many hours up, jetlag in Madrid, or whatever – which is not an excuse for those of you who didn’t see it.
“We were in the post-show. Noemi de Miguel, Pedro de la Rosa, Toni Cuquerella, and I had just interviewed Paul Monaghan, who had been the world constructors’ champion with Red Bull. Paul Monaghan is a good friend of mine. He was Fernando [Alonso’s] track engineer in 2004, but not in 2005, in 2005 and 2006.
“Because they were talking about how many titles he had, I said ‘Well, he has the ones at Red Bull, because with Fernando he couldn’t win at Renault, he couldn’t win any world titles’ and then Toni Cuquerella and Pedro started to tease me, saying ‘Sure, sure, you have more world titles than Paul Monaghan’ and well, I don’t have a title. I kept joking a little bit and then Cuquerella told me that Adrian Newey should tremble, he has more.
“Are you going to take the number of world titles? It’s a bit crazy, because it was a bit of a joke and a bit of a situation, a bit of a chat, almost like friends in a cafeteria without any sense. And then, when he told me about Adrian Newey, of course, I tried to look for another reference in the world of Formula 1 who has many titles, who is a legend like Adrian Newey in the technical field.
“And I said ‘Yes, yes, yes, let Adrian tremble, let Newey tremble’ and I came up with the name Michael Schumacher. Yes, I came up with the name Michael Schumacher, maybe because of the great admiration I have for him and because when it comes to records, titles, wins and to be a reference, to be a number one, because obviously a lot of people can remember him, who has seven world titles and is the second driver with the most victories in the history of Formula 1.
“I didn’t regret naming him but, at the time of doing it, it was just to look for a reference of historical brilliance and legend in F1, I did say I should have said Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher has a complicated enough situation for him and his family.
“I don’t have to put him in this joking tone that we are in, don’t I? I wanted to correct myself and, at that moment, a sentence came out and I think that those who listen with clear ears will realise that I am trying to put the brakes on.
“What happened is that I went too far and made an expression that is not good, it is not accurate, it is not fine, it is not clumsy.
“I didn’t mean to make a joke. I didn’t mean to make fun of Michael Schumacher, no. And besides, I think that everyone who knows me and knows what I’m like knows perfectly well that I would never make a joke about something like that. Never. But I was clumsy.
“For the record, the first one who was f**ked up when I said that sentence was me. I said ‘How can you say that, man, it’s going to be misinterpreted. That’s not what you meant. You meant to say something else and it didn’t come out right’.
“So the only thing I have to do, I think it’s fundamental, is to apologise to all those who felt offended by that phrase yesterday. I really, really mean it. It was not my intention to say it to laugh, nor to make any kind of joke with Michael, whom I knew, whom I admire, and whom I think is a reference and who I think was quite unlucky.”