Formula 1 Racing

F1 plans to consult with drivers over pre-race show plans

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, is announced on the grid

Amid pomp and ceremony in the build-up to the Miami GP, the entire grid was introduced by American rapper LL Cool J in front of an orchestra, cheerleaders and dry ice.

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.

But despite the warm reception from fans on the day, many F1 drivers were not particularly won over by the idea as they claimed it was too distracting taking place so close to the start of the race.

F1 drivers had already expressed some resistance to the idea during the GPDA meeting on Friday night. However, it is understood that there was broad agreement to try it for this weekend in Miami and see how the format can be tweaked.

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.

And while criticisms of the event gained traction after the Miami race, a number of drivers felt it was actually a good step.

Lewis Hamilton said: “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, and then you look over and you’ve got who is an incredible artist. You’ve got Serena and Venus [Williams] standing there. I thought it was cool, no issue from me.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, is announced on the grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Miami GP managing partner Tom Garfinkel saw no downside to the pre-race show, as he made comparisons between it and the initial criticisms F1’s Netflix show attracted before it was accepted as being a game-changing move.

“Ultimately, this is a show,” he said when asked by about the idea behind it. “I think there were a lot of people within F1 that probably weren’t happy about the Netflix series when it was first announced that it was going to happen. And it certainly had a positive effect on the entire sport.

“When we talked about doing a race in Miami, there was some discussion with F1 about them wanting to have more entertainment and more pageantry and those types…

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