McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

US GP drivers presentation was “a bad copy” of Indy 500 – Alonso

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso said the pre-race drivers’ presentation at the United States Grand Prix was a “bad copy” of the introduction used at the Indianapolis 500.

A new driver pre-race format was trialled ahead of the race with famous sports announcer Michael Buffer introducing each of the 20 drivers to the crowd before the national anthem.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Andretti, Indianapolis 500, IndyCar, 2017
Alonso raced at Indianapolis in May
Alonso, who raced in the Indianapolis 500 in May, wasn’t impressed with the ceremony. The McLaren driver retired from both races with engine failure

“In a way it was similar with the same result,” said Alonso of his two races in America this year. “The only thing that was not similar was the driver presentation, which was a bad copy, but the rest it was quite similar outcome.”

Alonso said his retirement was especially frustrating given his pace earlier in the race.

“I think it was a race that no one gave us anything,” he told the BBC. “It was not a gift that we were seventh, we fought for that.”

“We had a good qualifying performance, we had a good start. We were fighting in the race hard. I think we were seventh because we were seventh-quickest.”

“And we lost that opportunity. The last four or five race we lost 20, 30 points that probably could help my classification in the drivers’ standing and also the constructors’ standing for the teams. We missed this opportunity. We start last in Japan. We will start last in Mexico as well so that’s tough.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 54 comments on “US GP drivers presentation was “a bad copy” of Indy 500 – Alonso”

    1. Can’t say that I was that fond on the driver introductions, Dragged on too long, Was cringe-worthy & rather dull to watch.

      1. Tacky Americana Tripe!

        1. Shannon Murphy
          23rd October 2017, 22:03

          Exactly. America always thinks it has to one-up everyone because we know how to do it over here and they don’t. It brought absolutely nothing to the show.

      2. America wasn’t putting a show on for the rest of the world. We were putting a show on for ourselves because it was our race. It’s the same when women say they don’t put makeup on or dress up for anyone else but themselves. We did it because we like it. Not because you guys MIGHT like it.

        1. Yes, I think this is the point. Americans like showbiz. Being anti-American about it, Shannon Murphy and @nosehair – just because it’s not your bag – is quite simply rude. I didn’t like it either and share @stefmeister‘s sentiments. But I like bigotry much much less.

    2. Lad is just frustrated with that poor Honda engine.

      That presentation was fine. More driver-fan interaction. And normally if you watch the pre-race from a neutral standpoint, every single channel lacks true, accurate, prediction insight nowadays. Nando should focus telling Lewis to stop saying that the crowd and the track is awesome every bloody weekend. It’s not even true.

      If it was me, I’d even go more boxing-style with the staff writing all snarky comments during the announcements.

    3. So cringe worthy even Hamilton couldn’t get excited for it

    4. They lost me at “Michael Buffer”.

    5. I liked it.

    6. I thought the presentation was a tad long, but good intentions though. Michael Buffer was a good touch, if not cliche.

      This only works in the US. I really hope they dont do it elsewhere.

      1. My thoughts exactly. I liked it a lot but I do reckon if we do this every race, it’s going to get old very, very fast. But I wouldn’t mind at all to see it again in Austin next year.

    7. Contrived, like a lot of things in the USofA.

    8. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      22nd October 2017, 22:34

      Must admit I found it all very amusing. It was tacky as hell but it did really build up the race. Either way it was harmless fun, people can be too uptight.

      1. Well said….exactly. People need to lighten up.

    9. IMO the drivers parade is equally cringe worthy. To see them being rolled across the track on the back of a lorry or some dull cars being asked very generic questions that can be answered by yes and no. Like they’re a bunch of farm animals the crowd can look at and bid on later.
      Neither does anything to improve the sport or the show.

    10. I’m on the shuttle bus heading back from COTA as we speak. I was standing above turn 1 during the prerace and race and thought the driver introductions were a nice touch for the fans. Everyone went wild for Vettel. Also got a chuckle out of “The Torpedo” Kvyat. Not sure that’s a nickname he cares to be called.

    11. Based on the largely negative feedback I doubt we will see it again anyway.

      Teams& Drivers weren’t keen of it & I gather most of the broadcasters also didn’t like it with a lot of them cutting away from it for ad-breaks or there own programming.

      A lot of broadcasters were also unhappy that it took time away from there pre race shows & time speaking to drivers & others on the grid. Not all broadcasters are able to have these long 60+ minute build up shows, Many turn up 30 minutes or less before the start & those broadcasters were left with no drivers to talk to on the grid & the introductions interfering with there own programming.

      1. Based on the largely negative feedback I doubt we will see it again anyway

        @gt-racer this is F1, you can almost guarantee we will see it again because of the negative feedback

    12. If they keep doing that, that’ll be the second occasion on race day where I mute the sound and do something else for a few minutes (the first being the podium interview). To be fair, I didn’t even give it a chance, I simply turned my attention elsewhere as soon as I heard what was coming.

    13. Well, I liked it too.
      US knows how to put on a good show…

      1. @jens that’s my exact same opinion. I’m not taking it seriously, it’s a show and they do it just right. It was close to the “Team America” movie mood (and what about that American Eagle fake shadow hovering the race track?!) , but I love them for that: they know how to have fun and enjoy events.

        1. That Eagle was awesome. I thought they perhaps flew a drone shaped like an eagle close by to get that done. Was like WTH? but awesome.

    14. I’m sure that fans of WWE, NASCAR and Monster Trucks would love that crap. When I tuned in and saw it I immediately went channel surfing and found a nature show featuring prairie dogs and bison.

      Had to wait for the DVR to get far enough ahead so I could skip the endless commercials. Then, Diffey, Hobbs and Matchett were so bad I had to mute the sound. Worst F1 race coverage EVER!

      1. Would you prefer Arthur Treacher?

    15. I like the idea of a driver intro but it needs to be much shorter and less funny. I really enjoyed it as a one off comedy moment but I don’t think it was meant to be funny… The video of Hamilton with wind blowing and his shirt open looked like a Calvin Klein advert :D

      1. I classed that as satire @petebaldwin,with all that bling and the wind

      2. Um that’s Hugo Boss thank you very much. ;)

    16. Not a fan of the format. PVR’ed from beginning to end – totally Hollywood. Wonder what Bernie thought?

    17. Tarquin Hoylett
      23rd October 2017, 1:31

      If that driver introduction embarrassment EVER appears on my TV again I’m going to stab my eyes out and puncture my eardrums. I hope the rest of Liberty Media’s ideas are orders of magnitude better than that or we’re in serious trouble.

      1. I think they got what they intended. Their intent is not to keep current fans. Their intent is to get new fans in America and of a younger age.

    18. Yes, I saw the introduction and it looked like something Las Vegas inspired. Kind of cheesy like they say here in the U.S.A. Might as well have been at a restaurant serving excellent Italian food and asking the waiter to put a slice of bologna on your ravioli.

    19. They do this kind of thing for all the IndyCar races. It is just as cringeworthy at those races as it was this afternoon.

      1. They do, but they just introduce the driver and mention starting position. They don’t make it like All Star Wrestling. You’ve never watched obviously.

    20. Utterly horrible. An embarrassment to F1 and the United States. First, endless and poorly timed commercials, then interrupting key race team execs for mindless interviews mid-race, then this. Liberty is quickly ruining the greatest motorsport by treating it as entertainment for the US pro wrestling crowd. What a joke.

      1. I think the stewards call at the end does more to embarrass F1. Bet you’ll watch the driver meetings they post that Bernie never would.

    21. Trust the Americans to mess it up F1should be ashamed that they showed this garbage Worst thing I have ever seen In F1 Bring back Berni

    22. When was Kimi’s time for presentation Michael Buffer says for him “always smiling”, it was so hilarious!

      1. That made me laugh out loud. Couldn’t tell if he was being ironic or just doesn’t know a thing about the sport. Actually it was fairly obvious that Michael doesn’t know a THING about the sport so probably the latter.

        1. Tarquin Hoylett
          23rd October 2017, 13:53

          Given that he evidently doesn’t know the difference between “marque” and “marquee”, that’s probably a safe bet.

        2. Being ironic obviously, and the funniest line of the intros.

        3. Michael Buffer was never meant to be serious ever in any of his announcements throughout any sport. “Let’s get ready to rumble” was about hype not seriousness. He knew fans would react to “the torpedo” and “always smiling.” He’s a dry humor announcer.

    23. That was embarrassing, they could have done the same thing with infinitely more class with a few amendments:

      * No ‘end credit’ Disney music to go with the entrances
      * No random geezers dressed like the drivers prancing about on the grandstand roof
      * Michael to not try and pronounce the driver’s names as per the regional accent and getting them all horribly wrong
      * Michael not fluffing his lines
      * The drivers not looking like they just received a belting to take part in it

      It was so, SO embarrassing. The cheerleaders were nice to look at though!

      1. Oh yeh, and for Stoffel Vandoorne to show up! Did I miss it or was he a complete no show? He was probably like nah, im out once he saw the first couple. 🤣

    24. Graham Brockwell
      23rd October 2017, 14:04

      I hated it, I watched it on Sky unfortunately, I would prefer to watch the adverts on Ch 4 ! It made me cringe.
      What next Disney costumes for the drivers ? If that was trial for other races, then please let it be deemed a failure, and we dont have to suffer it again.

    25. Wow. The presentation was awful and a complete bore. Please don’t put us through that rubbish again.

    26. That was embarrassing…

      +1 Please don’t put us through that rubbish again.

    27. The only ones who seemed to enjoy it were Hamilton and Ricciardo.

    28. I don’t know what coverage you all watched but the direction and commentary were absolutely dismal on the feed I saw. And HOW (despite your position on the matter), does ANY credible commentator MISS that Verstappen passed Raikonnen off the track. Even with the meek view we were shown, it was patently obvious that it was an illegal pass. Good on Raikonnen for pretending he didn’t know what was going on when no doubt it was a Ferrari protest that sealed his fate.

      If they are Really serious about making this sport more entertaining then they really have to understand the viewer first. One who will stay up till 3 am or forego a Sunday brunch to see if the Mercedes will be upset. Let’s face it, outside of Michael Schumacher (who of course is no longer on the team nor able to do anything), watching Mercedes win, time after time after time, is nothing short of excruciating – much like the racer introductions in the Austin race.

      Were it I running the show, some very major but simple things would be implemented:

      1) Each team runs 3 cars, screw the cost. This makes it more exciting for viewers who now have potentially 3 drivers of choice to choose from in the running – if not more. It would also allow for more talented drivers to enter F1 instead of ‘connected’ drivers.

      2) I would mandate 2 race results to be allowed to be stricken from the record. This would allow for mechanical failures to be stricken per year and keep the race tight.

      3) I would assign half points to any car forced due to another driver’s error, out of a race, at their position at the time of incident. (If this were in force, Michael Schumacher would’ve won 2 more world titles and Alonso at least one more).

      4) Find the right person to highlight in the sport (Hamilton just isn’t the guy – for a black guy he’s very vanilla – also ban Justin Beiber), and focus more on personal battles on near equal teams instead of teammates, it’s spreads the interest around.

      5) Screw the fuel limits and bring back refueling (yes, I know this was voted out – BY THE TEAMS – they will only do what’s in their best interest while WE are the “paying” customers) This will allow for cars to be run harder and longer and test their true pace and more importantly, bring into effect the more dramatic mechanical failures.

      5b) Instead of engine limits being punished by “back of the grid” relocations, how about a points deficit instead? Also, up the engine limit to 5.

      6) Instead of qualifying, run a short 10 lap race on Saturday (for minimal points), after only ONE, one hour Free Practice, and use those results for the grid instead. This will mix up the qualifying grid and create more passing musts in the race. Plus the viewer get 2 races instead of 1! This also lets the driver shine instead of just the machinery.

      7) BRING BACK THE TIRE WARS! There was no more exciting racing when the tire developers were going head to head. After all this is a COMPETITION, although you couldn’t be blamed for calling it a Monopoly!

      8) Allow viewers to purchase non-commercialized feeds through their provider of choice. *For a REASONABLE fee. (Not like Moto-GP).

      9) Allow any engine manufacturer a year of unlimited tests to bring their engine up to speed. Do you think any manufacturers want to enter F1 after seeing Honda (one of the most [previously] respected brands, lose their shirt and be internationally embarrassed to no end? Alfa Romeo? Porsche? Lamborghini? Anyone….? No, didn’t think so.

      10) Allow a team to be created from donations of fans who could choose their drivers/head mechanics/managers and so on. Now THIS would be exciting!

      11) Stop doing what you’re doing in trying to make F1 into Nascar. Nascar people are Nascar people, and F1 folks are not, and never will be, THEM.

    29. It was a good way to introduce the F1 drivers to the US TV market. The race was on NBC’s main network channel that can be picked up free over the air. There was also an hour of pre-race, which is not normal in the US.

      I asked my boss on Friday before the GP weekend if he knew about Lewis Hamilton. He looked puzzled, and said the name sounded familiar but he didn’t know.

      I don’t think the intros were for the knowledgeable F1 fan.
      F1 needs exposure here, period.

      1. dbHenry I think few people would begrudge the concept. But the execution was laughable.

        1. When you explain technical stuff to someone who doesn’t care about the tech stuff, it’s like watching paint dry to them. They want entertainment and passes and good racing. the whole weekend was set around entertainment. The racing was a byproduct. Last year they had Taylor Swift perform the night before the race and the tickets were only available for 3 day passes or people who got race tickets. A majority of the people who went to the concert were teenage and pre-teen girls. It was a way for F1 to make a buck. This years was the same, about a buck, but hoping maybe a young fan can be captured by the oohs and ahhs. Children here don’t know what F1 is and wouldn’t go to the races if all we saw were a few cars for a section of the lap and then wait to see them again the next lap. We’re in the land and age were kids need constant entertainment otherwise they’re bored. Give them 5-10 seconds of excitement each lap and they’ll be asleep the other 90 seconds.

    30. I think some of the reaction to this ceremony kind of shows why F1 has a reputation amongst Americans for being charmless and aloof.

      The drivers have to be seen to be more accessible to fans. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it will have done more to ingratiate these drivers with the fans than any tedious set menu interviews.

    31. Channel 4 only showed the final few driver introductions but even then I thought they were a bit cringe worthy and that they went on too long.

      I think introductions like that work in a sport such as boxing, because there are only two introductions and it is a sport where the participants are going head to head, directly competing against only each other.

      In F1 there are 20 drivers to introduce, and unless they just get the most basic of introductions, only their name, then it will inevitably drag on. Also everyone is competing against each other so you can’t use it to build the rivalry between them and increase the tension before the main event like you can in boxing.

    32. If anything, I think the attempt was a European’s attempt to Americanise a European event being held in America. As Alonso said, a bad copy.

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