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Is the criticism of Miami's F1 driver introductions fair?

The inclusion of the pre-race grid ceremony drew widespread criticism, but does this discontent miss the point?

Hamilton LL Cool J Miami Driver Introduction
To news overview © XPBimages

F1's move to add a driver introduction ceremony on the grid ahead of the Miami Grand Prix has led to widespread criticism from competitors and fans.

Drivers were left discontent with critical preparation time being taken away ahead of lights-out whilst the core European fanbase was far from impressed with what many on social media declared an Americanisation of the sport.

But does the critique miss the point of the ceremony? RacingNews365.com discusses the good and the bad of the 'distraction'.

Felt out of place - Rory Mitchell

George Russell made the most sensible comment about the driver introductions regarding the amount of extra time spent in the heat prior to getting in the car.

Temperatures in Miami reached around 29°C on Sunday and considering the drivers take on lots of water that then gets sweated out while driving in the cockpit (where temperatures can get to 35°C), it seems like a waste of energy.

Norris also made the point that the drivers do a lot of promotional activity already prior to and throughout the weekend, so is this really necessary?

Looking at it on the TV, it also did not make much sense chronologically.

You had the drivers being introduced, then the intro video with the drivers being introduced, then the drivers being introduced again when the commentator read out which position they were starting the Grand Prix.

This would have made more sense when they came out during the Drivers Parade, which is usually at least an hour and a half before the race and benefits those at the track more rather than those watching at home.

These ceremonies don't usually happen at every race in other championships, with it reserved specially in IndyCar for the Indy 500. This is largely due to the fact that the field grows in size at this race, so it make sense to introduce the wildcards along with the series regulars.

Specific purpose - Ewan Gale

When debating whether the driver introduction ceremony was a positive addition, we must acknowledge that there is a reason this will not happen at each race.

A similar attempt at this came at the Circuit of the Americas last decade and received a similar reaction.

But this case is different. The Miami Grand Prix plays a specific purpose on the F1 calendar. The sport has experienced a boom in popularity in recent years - especially in the United States and largely down to Drive to Survive.

The fact there are three races in the US this season proves F1 is trying to capitalise on this and continue its rapid growth. For this, new fans are needed... Enter Miami.

With numerous celebrity personalities and social media stars present and promoting the race through their public platforms, F1 is able to target an entirely new wave of fans that were previously untouched before Liberty Media's acquisition of the sport in 2017.

Part of the reason Drive to Survive gained so much traction was the human narrative used to delve into the world of F1. The majority of new fans will likely not sit through a 90-minute build-up programme when being introduced to the sport as the punditry will not cater to their needs and therefore, the chance to acclimatise to the people involved is missed.

So therefore, this new crop of supporters will likely tune in within the final 30 minutes before the race starts and with the inclusion of the driver ceremony, these personalities are presented to the new fanbase.

Unlike almost every other sport, fans cannot see the faces of the competitors mid-event. The drivers are cocooned in a shroud of their crash helmets, the halo device and the several safety structures incorporated into the chassis.

It is spurious to say 'we don't need this, we know who they are' when the target market is not the core fanbase. The bigger picture must be seen.

F1 2023 Miami Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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