(Miami) Before the race on Sunday at the Miami International Autodrome, the drivers were introduced one by one by American rapper LL Cool J.
When the latter named them, they walked in front of a giant screen installed in front of the grid and greeted the crowd by walking through a tunnel of Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, to the sound of an orchestra installed on site and led by rapper Will. I am.
Let’s say it contrasted with the other Grands Prix, where the drivers focus on their routine before getting on the grid for the national anthem. According to information obtained by ESPN, Formula 1 wants to offer such introductions at several of its events during the season. Except here it goes: it doesn’t make all pilots happy.
Opinions were divided after the race. Mercedes’ George Russell told the media the matter was discussed at a drivers’ meeting on Friday evening.
“Everyone has their own personality. I guess that’s the American way. Personally, it’s not for me. It’s my personal opinion, but… I’m here to race. »
Russell regretted having to go to the track half an hour before the start, in his racing clothes, under the big Florida sun. “I don’t think there’s another sport in the world where, 30 minutes before [the performance], you’re going to get ready for the sun with all the cameras pointed at you, putting on a show. »
Twenty minutes later, at a press conference, Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez and Fernando Alonso were in turn questioned about it. Like Russell, Verstappen explained that it was mostly a question of personality.
“Some people like to be in the spotlight, some people don’t. Personally, I don’t like that. For me, what has been done today is not necessary. I prefer to talk with my engineers, walk to my car, put on my helmet and drive.
“Obviously I understand the entertainment side of it. I just hope we don’t have [this kind of show] every time, because we have a long season. We don’t need a presentation like this every time, but it also depends on the crowd. »
As for Fernando Alonso, he was a little more direct.
“I understand everyone’s point of view, but I’m not a big fan of this stuff right before the race. If we have to do that, I think we should take out some of the other stuff that we do, like the parade, because that really takes place at the heart of our preparation with the engineers and the strategy meetings.
“If we do it, we have to do it everywhere, because I don’t think Miami fans are better than Italy, Spain, Mexico or Japan. I think we have to establish the same rules for everyone before the race. »
Pérez, on the other hand, didn’t seem too bothered by it, “as long as it doesn’t happen too often,” he blurted out.