Hamilton backs pre-race Miami GP show as F1 to review
By Ian Parkes
Tuesday 9th May, 2023 - 1:34pm
Lewis Hamilton has defended F1’s attempt to add more entertainment and value ahead of the Miami Grand Prix.
Playing to a captive and growing American audience, F1 opted to instill a touch of traditional razzmatazz in the build-up shortly before the race start.
It resulted in American rapper LL Cool J introducing all 20 drivers onto a stage on the grid as dry ice blew and music icon will.i.am conducted an orchestra playing his theme song for the race entitled ‘The Formula’.
The consensus amongst the drivers post-race is that they were far from enamoured, primarily as the event was staged around 20 to 25 minutes before the start of the grand prix when they are usually deep in preparation with their engineers.
Two-time F1 champion Max Verstappen felt the event was “not necessary”, and was joined in his criticism by Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.
George Russell complained of being forced to stand around in the Miami heat for too long in his race suit ahead of being introduced, to which Hamilton jokingly replied: “I love the sun!”
The Mercedes driver added: “I think it’s cool the sport is continuously growing and evolving, they’re not just doing the same stuff that they’ve done in the past.
“They’re trying new things, trying to improve the show, and I’m in full support of it.
“I mean, jeez, I grew up listening to LL Cool J and he was out there. That was cool.
“Then you look over and you’ve got will.i.am, who is an incredible artist, and you’ve got Serena and Venus (Williams) standing there.
“It was cool. It wasn’t an issue for me.”
Asked whether he lost focus because of what transpired, the seven-time F1 champion added: “I’ve been in the zone since last Sunday.”
Speedcafe understands there will be similar shows at various races this season, likely at no more than a further five or six.
That number, however, is under discussion, and with the event to be tailored to the particular grand prix at which it features.
F1 is to also collaborate with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on future ideas and solutions, most notably with regard to the timing of the show which emerged as the principle point of concern.
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