Let’s discuss the pre-race show in Miami GP

2023 Miami Grand Prix, Saturday - Sulay Kelly

Can we talk about the driver introduction ceremony at the Miami Grand Prix? There were several drivers who spoke out against the pre-race ceremony and I can’t say that I blame them. George Russell said:

“I guess it’s the American way of doing things in sport. Personally, it’s probably not for me.

“I’m here to race. I’m not here for the show. I’m here to drive and I’m here to win.

“It is distracting, because we’re on the grid for half an hour in all of our overalls in the sun.

“I don’t think there’s any other sports in the world that 30 minutes before you go out to do your business, you’re out there in the sun, all the cameras on you and making a bit of a show of it.

“I can appreciate that in the entertainment world. But as I said, we only want the best for the sport. We’re open to changes. But I guess we wouldn’t want to see it every weekend.

“The thing I love every single race is the national anthem, that pumps you up and it’s sort of respectful to the country that we’re racing at. Mixed feelings on the additional show.”

He wasn’t alone. Lando Norris wasn’t a big fan either:

“None of the drivers like it, but it’s not for us at the end of the day.

“We do a lot of things. It’s probably the only sport where we’re so close to the fans.

“We do so much publicity for the fans. 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.

“But it’s a business at the end of the day, so it’s what we’ve got to do. But adding more and more stuff like this, no driver likes it.

“We’ve said, ‘You can’t just keep putting things in and making us do more and more’.

“We do so much. There’s a limit to how much we should do. We are here to still focus on doing the job of what we’re doing and not just be in front of a camera the whole day.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc added:

“I understand the point of view of everybody but I’m not a big fan of those kinds of things just before the race.

“If we have to do it, I think we need to remove some of the other stuff we are doing like the parade lap or something like that, because it’s really in the middle of the preparation with the engineers and the strategy meeting.

“If we do it, we have to do it everywhere because I don’t think that the Miami fans are better than the Italian fans in Imola or in Spain or in Mexico or in Japan.

“We need to make everyone with the same rules and the same show before the race.”

Now I can appreciate the song that Will.I.Am produced as much as the next guy and there is no doubt LL Cool J has had a big impact on the musical world but I’m unclear what either of them have to do with Formula 1 or why the US always engages in these lengthy, cringy ceremonies. That’s just my thoughts but at least one driver liked the ceremony. Lewis Hamilton said:

“I think it was great. I love the sun! 

“I think it is cool that the sport is continuously growing and evolving and not just doing the same stuff that they’ve done in the past.

“They are trying new things; they are trying to improve the show and I am in full support of it.
“I grew up listening to LL Cool J and he was there. That was cool.

“Then you look over and you’ve got Will.i.am. who is an incredible artist. You’ve got Serena and Venus [Williams, tennis champions] standing there.

“I thought it was cool, no issue from me.”

That may be one of the more “Millennial” comments I’ve heard lately, “I think it is cool that the sport is continuously growing and evolving and not just doing the same stuff that they’ve done in the past.”

From my perspective, Formula 1 existed long before this generation knew what it was. It’s history is steeped in lore, heroics and tragedy. No one needs it to be “re-imagined” for a new generation who didn’t invent it or discover it.

Can it be modernized? Of course it can and I would suggest the technology evolution is the leading modernization arm of the sport. Can the show be improved? Sure but there’s a fine line between improving the show and turning it into a caricature of itself.

When you start strong-arming or collaring a 3-time F1 champion who is 83-years-old because he can’t be in same event area as LL Cool J or Will.I.Am, I’m sorry, I’m not interested in the “growing and evolving” antics of circus-style entertainment.

If you can’t find the respect for a knighted 3-time world champion who pioneered safety in the sport and put his life and career on the line to do so, then that may be a you problem, not a problem with F1.

The sport is much bigger than LL Cool J, Will.I.Am, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, the Williams Sisters et. al. Sir Jackie is part of what made it bigger, as is Lewis and current drivers on the grid, and we would do well to not cheapen it or it’s immense accomplishments.

 

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Fred

I generally skip the pre-race show. And, not just F1, but every sporting event I watch. I’m not a fan of the post race shows either.

Worthless Opinion

A bit of a worrying trend as the priority in making a new race succesful becomes this sort of thing, not the race. To that end, if the podcast has time for it, a question – I’ve been getting the feeling lately that one of the negative aspects of DRS is it’s allowing bad tracks to be introduced onto the calendar. This is a bad track because you can’t race and pass on it, there’s no runoff in corners so no one would try anyway, it’s one line. But with DRS there will still be overtakes, so it becomes okay… Read more »

peter

Hey, why miss the pre-race show! It’s mind-numbing, it’s dumbing down to such an extent that the anti-climactic race seems exciting! F1 needs to keep it (the way they are running the sport) in order to make this more Nascar-ish entertaiment-only and not the pinnacle of sport…
Grace is right, MotoGP is far more exciting and great racing.

peter

PS Can’t wait for your race recap podcast… please highlight why RedBull did not allow Checco to have medium tires at start so he could build up a 20+ second lead… ah, wait, Max did and, of course, that was the goal… drop Checco back while Max is coming on strong. Sorry, stupid assumption CH was playing fair…

Worthless Opinion

I kind of agree with you that RB are tipping the scales toward Max, I think it’s not entirely uncommon but it’s not nice to see. I think this is why they hired Dan R, so that Sergio knows he must accept whatever treatment he’s given or they’ll just swap him out like so many union plumbers. Which also shows what a charmed life Dan R leads I would dearly love to get paid for bad results or nothing at all. Just one of his ‘didn’t work out’ engagements would do me for life.

Juan

I think you are confused, Checo did start with the (yellow) medium tires. Max started with the (white) hard tires. The top 8 started with the medium tires.

Worthless Opinion

It’s breathtaking. There are lots of reasons but chief among them has to be the width of the vehicle vs the width of the track. In F1 this ratio is like .5 a lot of times, in MotoGP it’s like 0.001

Peter

Absolutely right

John

Couldn’t agree more Todd. It was cringe worthy. You could read the body language that 19 of the drivers didn’t want to be there. It’s a little embarrassing how rude the celebtards like the Williams sisters are to Martin. I never had much respect tor Tom Cruise, especially when Martin said he was told that Tom was off limits. It was PT Barnum on display by people not related to F1 or even knew about racing a few years ago. Damon Hill, Naomi and Danica are bad enough, but we had to put our less presentable side on display for… Read more »

charlie w

I didn’t have a huge problem with the driver intros except whomever wrote the intros for LL Cool J. If this sport wants to proper intros, then someone should be watching the WWE for sensational over the top entrances. I make the point that even with 270k in the grandstands, not everyone there know all the drivers so this is their introduction to those new F1 fans. Suck it up, George Russell. You go big or you can go back to Baku or Bahrain where 60k is a sell-out crowd. Liberty has promoted the Miami race as a spectacle; they… Read more »

Sidewayskid

If one has personally raced anything seriously, minutes prior to start is time reflect and put on your race face. If one favors the clown show, then retire and join the circus full time.

BigBroF1

I kind of liked the cringe driver introduction. After that LL Cool J (I think) was interviewed much too long

Slipstream

I would like to commend The Parc Ferme for this article. Many other media outlets would never criticise something related to their own country. Sometimes they won’t even be close to balanced in their opinions. I stopped listening to BBC F1 podcast because I was sick of hearing LH’s name. I would like to tip my hat to The Parc Ferme.

In regards to the pre-show antics. It was cringy but watchable in a “I can’t wait to see what they do next” kind of way. I guess tyring something new is not bad.