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George Russell

F1 drivers criticise 'distracting' Miami GP pre-race pomp

While the pre-race ceremony was meant to be a unique display for the Miami race, some drivers had mixed feelings on whether it was needed before the race.

Zhou Miami
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George Russell and Lando Norris have criticised the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix pre-race ceremony as being "distracting" and claiming "none of the drivers like it."

It took place minutes before the race on the start/finish straight ahead of the grid, where a temporary stage was erected and drivers were announced by American rapper LL Cool J before the national anthem.

Performer Will.i.am also conducted an orchestra that performed his new F1-inspired song 'The Formula' which was released on Saturday.

Drivers were required to turn up at the ceremony 23 minutes before the start, compared to the regular 16 minutes at each of the other races.

However, some were not impressed with the pre-race pomp after voicing their concerns in a drivers meeting on Friday that it could take too long.

"None of the drivers like, but it's not for us at the end of the day," said Norris to media, including RacingNews365.com.

"We've said 'you can't just keep putting things in and making us do more and more'"

Russell elaborated by raising his concerns over the climate in Miami and having to sit out in the heat prior to getting into the car.

"It is distracting. We're on the grid for half an hour in all of our overalls in the sun," he explained.

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

Russell: The American way is not for me

F1 has made more of a concerted effort in recent years to bring fans closer to the drivers, after years of shielding them away in the paddock.

Norris believes that with the amount of existing publicity, the extra 'show' elements before a race can be too distracting.

"We're 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.

"It's a business in 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."

Russell adds that the 'American way' of doing things is perhaps not always suited to each driver on the grid.

"Everybody has got different personalities. I guess it's the American way of doing sport. Personally, probably not for me. That's just my personal opinion," he said.

"But I'm here to race. I'm not here for the show. I'm here to drive and here to win, but I guess we have to roll with it."

F1 2023 Miami Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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