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



Among the pomp and ceremony in the run-up to the Miami Grand Prix, American rapper LL Cool J introduced the entire grid in front of an orchestra, cheerleaders and dry ice.

F1 plans to hold similar driver introductions at six or seven races this year – which will be tailored to where they are held.

But despite the day’s enthusiastic reception from fans, many F1 drivers were not particularly impressed by the idea, claiming it would be too distracting to hold it so close to the start of the race.

At the GPDA meeting on Friday night, F1 drivers had expressed some resistance to the idea.

However, it is understood that there is general agreement to try it out in Miami this weekend to see how the format can be adjusted.

F1 is aware of the divided views on the matter and is ready to discuss with the drivers how the format can be revised to better serve them and the fans.

The GPDA will likely hold talks with them at the upcoming Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to find out how best to improve things.

While criticism of the event grew after the Miami race, many drivers felt it was actually a good step.

Lewis Hamilton said: “I think it’s cool that the sport is growing and evolving and not just doing what they’ve done in the past. They’re trying new things; they’re trying to improve the show and I’m all for it.

“I grew up listening to LL Cool J, he was there, that was cool, and then you look over there and you have Who’s an amazing artist. You have Serena and Wiener S (Williams) standing there. I think it’s cool, I’m fine.”

Miami Grand Prix managing partner Tom Garfunkel sees no downside to the pre-race show as he compares it to the initial criticism F1’s Netflix show drew before it was accepted as a game-changing move.

Mercedes-AMG's Lewis Hamilton announces grid start

Mercedes-AMG’s Lewis Hamilton announces grid start

Photography: Mark Sutton/ motorsport pictures

“Ultimately, it’s a show,” he said when asked by Autosport about the thinking behind it. “I think a lot of people in F1 probably weren’t happy with it when it was first announced that the Netflix series was coming. It definitely had a positive effect on the sport as a whole.

“There were some discussions with F1 when we talked about having a race in Miami, they wanted more entertainment and more gala and stuff like that. That’s what we’re going to deliver.

“Ultimately, the car and the competition of the drivers on the track is the most important thing, but what happens before that, if we can entertain people and create some spectacle and excitement, I think that’s a good thing.”

F1 team bosses also backed Liberty Media’s efforts to try new things and capture the attention of new fans.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: “I don’t think it’s that bad for them (the drivers). I think we have to try something.

“Everyone is trying to do their best and it’s been a lot of excitement for the fans to see the drivers come out on top one by one. I don’t think it’s done in a way that looks like a comedy.”

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the key will be finding the right balance between what’s right for the drivers ahead of the race and what’s best for paying spectators.

“If it’s good for business, it’s good for me, it’s from about two hours after lights out,” he said.

“We’re obviously in a different market. You can see drivers who might look a bit awkward, or some of them. But if it’s going to attract a new audience, it’s up to the promoters. I’m more interested in the lights What happens when it goes out.”

He added: “I think there’s a lot of experimentation going on. It’s a new market, it’s not like American sport. At Silverstone you don’t see drivers running in dry ice.

“It’s different things for different markets. Of course, you can understand Liberty and promoters exploring different things because they’re competing with other movements. But I think it’s finding the right and proper balance.”

Additional reporting by Mandy Curi and Adam Cooper

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Ocon: 'I have much respect for Aston Martin'




Esteban Ocon had a great Sunday afternoon. Across the streets of Monaco, the Frenchman appeared to be at one with his Alps, which eventually even earned him a podium finish. Ocon told a news conference that he looked back on the weekend with a very good feeling.

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Perez “cannot afford another zero” in F1 2023 season




The Red Bull driver was last in Sunday’s race and was out in Q1 qualifying.

He went on to make five pit stops in a dismal race that saw him twice passed by team-mate and race winner Max Verstappen, who now leads the championship by 39 points.

Although it marked Perez’s first game of the season without scoring, the Mexican said his error was “costly” and “unacceptable”.

He said: “We paid for my mistake and it was very costly. I just have to apologize to my whole team because it was unacceptable for this kind of mistake to be made.

“I have to move on and learn from it, I can’t afford another zero in the tournament.”

Despite the poor finish, Perez had a “very good” start to the race, finishing 15th on lap 30, but dropped back into the standings after a couple of incidents and a period of rain.

He also collided with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in the corner on lap 34, breaking his front wing.

Perez said he “didn’t know what happened” but was “considerably hurt” by the incident.

He added: “It went well. Unfortunately I hit traffic early on and that put us back where we were. Then it rained and we were one of the last to pit.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

Photography: Simon Galloway/ motorsport pictures

“Then I cut the wall and it all became a mess. Me and Magnussen broke my front wing and he just came out of the chicane (deeply) and it went bad.

“When you’re in those positions, you’re always taking a lot of risks.”

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it had been a “bad weekend” for Perez, blaming the poor result on a crash in qualifying that “put you at a disadvantage”.

He also said Perez was inside Ocon’s maintenance window before getting stuck behind slow-moving traffic.

Horner said: “We took a very aggressive strategy. Stopped on the first lap and you could see how fast he was in the free space and how much the others were saving.

“He actually came back inside the pit window on Esteban Ocon, and then (Logan) Sargeant and the slow car started to struggle and, of course, you couldn’t overtake.

“Then he got involved in a melee with (George) Russell and damaged the front wing. It was just one of those weekends where he got nothing done.

“He saved a lot of money in the pool, so he might need a new pair of underwear after that.

“For him, it’s just one of those weekends where[he should]turn the page and I think for him, the sooner he gets to Barcelona the better.”

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Verstappen: 'We always have to be perfect'




Max Verstappen gave a masterclass in the narrow streets of Monte Carlo. The Dutchman once again showed his raw talent, whether in the rain or on dry tarmac. If the Dutchman fails to win, there are still two contenders for the title. Teammate Sergio Perez and his friend Fernando Alonso. Will the Spaniard get another chance at victory soon? Verstappen responded at a press conference.

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