As part of the FIA pre-race news conference on Thursday, June 19, ahead of the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix, some of the Formula 1 drivers were asked their views of the ongoing FIFA World Cup. Since the drivers come from several different countries and drive for teams from even more different countries, the racers are rooting for a variety of teams in the other sport besides their own that attracts millions of fans and viewers around the world.
According to Formula 1, when Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was asked if he'd placed any bets on the FIFA World Cup, he replied, "I didn’t. I didn’t. I don’t know who’s going to win, it’s open and…yeah… I will not bet, it’s too difficult."
Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez of Sauber commented about Mexico's good progress so far, agreeing that the team was doing well, "Yeah, really well and I feel proud of it," he said. "It’s great to see. They barely made it into the World Cup and now they’re playing really well and in a good position. So hopefully they keep on going like this and we can fight for the win at the end."
His fellow countryman, Sergio Perez of Force India agreed, when asked, if he is enjoying the World Cup and Mexico's results so far, "Yeah, really enjoying it. We’ve done a fantastic job in the first two games. We played against Brazil the other day and are doing really well. Right now we have the best, the most important game with Croatia to go through to the next match. Hopefully we can go on and keep going. They’re definitely doing a good job and I think it can be one of the best World Cups in the history of my country."
British driver Max Chilton of Marussia admitted to making a wager and looking forward to Thursday night's match, "It is a big night [tonight]," he said. "I didn’t put a bet down because I’ve never seen a poor bookie but it was a good game [England vs Italy]. I did tell someone to put a bet down on it being 2-1 but I got it the wrong way around. Italy beat us 2-1. If we can get a win in today it will really boost us for the rest of the tournament."
Not part of the press conference, but posting to his Facebook page, Mercedes driver and fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton wrote, "Come on #England we can bring this back! #WorldCup2014."
Back at the press conference, Daniel Ricciardo who drives for Red Bull and is from Australia said about his native football team when asked, "Yeah, we’re now playing for the wooden spoon. We’ll see how we go, hopefully we can win one but, y’know, they fought well, I think both games. Obviously they lost but they scored goals, found the back of the net, they attacked and took risks, so we have to be proud of that at least: went down swinging."
About Sweden not being in the World Cup this year, native Marcus Ericsson of Caterham commented on the question of wagering on another possible team winning, "I haven’t, no. It’s a shame we’re not there but I’m sure Sweden will fight back and be strong in the next one."
Formula 1 motor racing is said to draw the second highest number of spectators worldwide for each of its grands prix that are held more or less every two weeks throughout the season. By contrast, the FIFA World Cup draws the biggest number of global spectators viewing in person or electronically, but that event is held only every four years.
According to FIFA, this year's World Cup runs from June 12 to July 13.
The next race in Formula 1 is the Austrian Grand Prix set to take place at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg on June 22.