Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing walks out onto the grid prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 07, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1: Pampered F1 drivers hit out at Miami GP pre-race spectacle (2nd Update)

Formula 1 chiefs are to consult with drivers about how best to tweak pre-race ceremony plans, following a mixed reception in Miami.

F1 is planning to host similar driver introduction events at between six and seven races this year – with them being individually tailored to the host location.

F1 is aware of the divided opinion over the matter and is ready to speak to drivers about how the format can be modified, so it serves both them and fans better.

Talks are likely to take place with the GPDA at the forthcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to work out how best to refine things.

May 9, 2023 

Lewis Hamilton has leapt to the defense of Miami’s pre-race driver intros, saying it is good new things are being tried to attract fans.

A number of drivers were critical of the introductions.

Hamilton, 38, said: “It is cool the sport is continuously growing and evolving and not doing the same stuff.

“They are trying to do things to improve the show. I mean, I grew up listening to LL Cool J and now he’s there.

“You look over and you have, who is an incredible artist. I thought it was cool.”

Lewis Hamilton during driver intros in Miami

“I actually like the idea of a driver introduction. Fans rarely get to see them without their crash helmets on.

“Plus, I don’t really get the fuss when it is made part of the schedule. The drivers cannot complain they did not know it was happening.

“But if this is to be a new part of the show, then it needs to be applied to all races.”

May 8, 2023 

(GMM) George Russell, Lando Norris and other top Formula 1 drivers have hit out at the pre-race proceedings before Sunday’s Miami GP.

As A-list celebrities flocked to the event surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium, they and the global television audience were subjected to spectacular pre-race festivities featuring Will.I.Am as well as LL Cool J’s unique driver introductions.

It was possible after the FIA tweaked the rules to allow the “usual procedure before a world championship race” to be adapted for various races.

Actor Tom Cruise poses with Mercedes team 2023 Miami Grand Prix, Sunday – Sam Bloxham

“It was a hot topic at the drivers’ briefing,” said Grand Prix Drivers’ Association director George Russell.

“We knew what we were getting into, but I guess that’s the US way of doing it. But I’m here to race – I’m not here for a show.

“But I guess I don’t have a choice,” the Mercedes driver added.

Russell’s biggest gripe is that he and the other drivers were forced to “stand in the blazing sun” in full overalls for 30 minutes, waiting for the festivities to involve them.

“I don’t know of any other sport where an athlete has to go through something like that with the cameras on his face just before the action,” said the Briton.

“Honestly, I don’t want to see it every weekend. But I hear that this is how it will be at other big races in the future.”

McLaren driver Lando Norris agreed: “None of the drivers like it.

“It’s just – we do a lot of things. As drivers we all just want to sit down and focus on what we need to focus on and not do so much TV and everything.

“You can’t just keep putting things in and making us do more and more, you know. There’s not one other sport where you do this,” he added. “We do so much already.”

World champion Max Verstappen, meanwhile, said the extent to Sunday’s proceedings was “not necessary”.

“Of course I understand the entertainment value,” said the Dutchman. “But I just hope we don’t have to do that every single time, because it’s a very long season.”

His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez added: “I think it’s nice to do it once for the crowd, but we also have to be very respectful of the drivers.

“We need our own time to get ready just minutes before the race start.”

Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing waves to the crowd from the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 07, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, said making a big pre-race fuss in Miami but not elsewhere is also unfair because “I don’t think Miami fans are better than Italian fans or Spanish fans or in Mexico or in Japan”.


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