Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

US GP pre-race show wouldn’t work in Germany – Vettel

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel doubts a pre-race show of the kind seen at last weekend’s United States Grand Prix would be successful at his home race.

The Ferrari driver dismissed the idea of trying a similar stunt when F1 returns to Germany at the Hockenheimring next year. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I think Germans are very difficult to get excited.”

Vettel gave a lukewarm verdict on the spectacle, which included having the drivers introduced by name as they appeared on the grid.

“I think for the people it might be nice if they like it and obviously it’s a nice idea,” he said. “For me, yeah, I don’t really care to be honest. I like jumping in the car and racing. I’m not a big showman.”

Lewis Hamilton gave a more positive verdict. “I think it was amazing,” he said.

“There was a little bit of waiting in the hallway, waiting for everyone to go out. That part felt a little bit long.”

“But I think they just made the SuperBowl here, they made the race, I think the entertainment was the best I think we’ve seen, with the drum line, the whole band. Yeah, I think the whole set-up. It was great to see something different.”

“For many many years, the whole ten years, it’s been the same old boring thing on the grid except for now you have the national anthem but not really too exciting. I think this one was just much more like an NFL game which is exciting, with the fireworks and everything.”

Fernando Alonso added to the mixed verdict on the pre-race fanfare, saying it felt like a “bad copy” of the Indianapolis 500.

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 29 comments on “US GP pre-race show wouldn’t work in Germany – Vettel”

    1. As I said before, although it was cheesy, it was actually quite entertaining. In the end, I liked it, and it added to the whole spectacle. I also agree that a show like this won’t work at Silverstone or in Germany. This intro was very “American”, and that’s why it worked in the US. I would love to see something similar added to drivers intros during other races, but more in line with their cultures. It gives fans tiny glimpses at drivers as characters and heroes, and that’s great.

      1. I totally agree. That was a great intro to an American race but I’d like to see other countries put their spin on it.

        It shows off the countries and their cultures a little bit – like a miniature-scale Olympics opening ceremony.

      2. @zimkazimka I agree. It’s cringeworthy for fans, but even then for me it fall into it’s so bad that it’s good territory. I’d love to see it made into US GP tradition, but don’t do it at other countries or it’d lose its charm. A local culture based introduction is actually good idea!

      3. Agreed (full-disclosure I am American). It was kinda fun. I’m not really into the cheesy-ness of it (and Iceman does not have a permanent smile…), but for casual and hardcore fans alike it brought to light a lot of the nicknames and characterizations that are usually lost on sites like these. And that is fun!

        Then Vettel took the lead at the start and I got excited for a battle… for a minute.

      4. @zimkazimka

        It gives fans tiny glimpses at drivers as characters and heroes, and that’s great.

        That’s part of the thing, as soon as germans get the slightest glimpse of someone being artificially heightened and portrayed as a hero, it’s over. Cheesyness (the english word does sound like an euphemism for german speakers, btw) makes it worse, and there was a lot of it. And just imagine a Michael Buffer-style introduction of driver names in german language… I can virtually see the headlines newspapers like the taz would write about that.

    2. Germans gets as excited as anything, this is just a polite way of saying that it sucked and don’t dare bring it to Europe.

      1. I got that impression too :P

      2. Yea it was so cringe

      3. This was as ‘Murican as it gets, and it was fine in its context, cheesy but fun. In this form it probably wouldn’t work in any other country, but I’d welcome pre-race shows in every single grand prix, different from track to track, with a local country-specific spin.

    3. I think that drive around with drivers on a truck bed is much more useless to be honest.

    4. At least they are trying new things that would never happened in the Bernie reign. Like most just hoping they don’t ‘Americanise’ it too much and see what will work in each culture.

      I thought the idea that was out in the past few days of a 3 row grid in ‘hope’ there may be more crashes at the start wasn’t a great one. 15 seconds of excitement for a real boring race? Charlie has long said he likes run offs rather than gravel to keep more cars racing, rather than hitting a gravel trap and being out. The above idea is complete opposite to his theory.

      I would prefer less crashes at the start (keep grid how it is) and more concrete barriers and gravel traps so a driver cant cut a corner like Max did and we get all these inconsistencies (great pass though!!) or if they push too much or struggle with breaks later in the race they cant simply create their own track and run wide everywhere.

      But full points to Liberty so far in their efforts to make things better for the fans.

      1. Not sure about that. New things happened under BE too, like the current pu format, DRS, gadget tires, double points for the last race, virtual safety cars, a different quali format that lasted 2 races I think it was, talks of standing restarts…

        I hadn’t heard of the 3 car wide grid starts concept so I had to google it. Just talk from Liberty for now, not sure about Whiting, about doing it at some tracks, I presume where the tracks are wider at the starting grid area, so not at tracks that are too narrow for this, I would think. And no in fairness I don’t think it is to invite more crashes, but to invite more risk which would make it more important for drivers to be more careful to avoid collisions, which might shake up the order a bit at starts. Let’s face it, already where the tracks are wider and allow it, the cars end up sometimes 6 wide within a few seconds of the lights going out at the start.

        I just don’t see how concrete barriers and gravel traps make for less crashes and/or drivers days ended for small errors. Or what about a driver getting shoved into a wall or off into the kitty litter? Ok…penalize the shover, but that doesn’t put the victim back on track with an intact car and a fighting chance post-incident. Isn’t the grid too small as it is, in many peoples’ opinion?

        I hope this is taken as discussion, not argument. I fear that if they brought in walls and gravel traps with cars only more difficult to pass due to dirty air, it’ll just be Monaco everywhere, with the pole winner the likely
        race winner. As it is we have tracks that have the huge runoffs and at the same time are famously passing-unfriendly.

        I think where I’m at right now is that for the most part they have gotten the stewarding on off-track excursions right, there are good reasons to not make it cut and dry like with tennis style laser monitors on track borders, and I’d like to see their focus be on getting cars racing more closely, with DRS gone, and THEN let’s see what they need to do about track border issues. I’d like to see track run-offs that naturally penalize a driver for going off, but not with permanent race ending kitty litter. If it has to be laser style detectors, then let’s talk about the degree of penalty if a driver bings the sensor. Is it immediate exclusion? A five second penalty off their finishing time? Three bings and it’s 5 seconds? How ‘in a tunnel’ physically and psychologically do we want to put these guys when they can barely pass without drs as it is?

        At a time when they want to speed F1 up, and with the finicky tires that have a very particular operating window, I don’t see them eager to make cut and dry metaphorical walls, gravel traps, nor lasers, to restrict even further the action we do get, and the drivers’ ability to maintain their tires temps by having to tiptoe around the tracks. This was part of Horner’s argument, that I had to agree with somewhat…the big American style splash at the start…the big desire to see F1 grow in the US…and the most exciting thing that happened all weekend gets squashed. I think in this case the penalty for Max was just, but overall I don’t think Liberty needs to look for more ways to restrict the racing now, into some sterile no tolerance thing the likes F1 has never had before, and expect that to grow the sport.

    5. Shocking. Contrived garbage. Whats with fake hype. Its pathetic.

      1. Have the drivers walk out holding the hands of little kids wearing miniature firesuits.

        1. that’s much better.

    6. Changing the grid for more crashes? Are they insane?
      They want more exciting raceing then let drivers race. Quit mandating tire stops, quit having 25 place grid spot jokes, bring back in season testing, all that for a start.

      As for the pre race, please just stop.. “Are you ready to rumble “ oh lord.

    7. Although I quite liked it, I hope it won’t become a norm. Should it become an annual thing then hopefully they’d keep doing it in the USA only, not in other countries.

    8. It was so over the top, loud and without class, so really American.
      Keep it as a once a year gimmick in the US but don’t bother other audiences with it.

      1. Americans can always feel the love on this site.

    9. Once was either enough or too much. No need to repeat this experiment.

    10. It didn’t work in America…

    11. Put the top 10 drivers in identical go karts, and get them to race to 3 or 4 different temporary “arenas” around the track, then do a small interview/banter section at each stop. Let the crowd a little closer (not on) to the track. Tshirt cannons and freebies. Meanwhile have the other 10 drivers doing interviews on the start/finish straight that the broadcasters can show, along with highlights of what just happened, while all that’s being packed away and everyone prepares for the race formation lap.

      What could possibly go wrong….

    12. Maybe fun for boxing but not for F1.
      The current format is good enough IMO.
      Though I must say I liked the majorettes ;)

    13. As an American I’m used to this kind of “cheesiness,” I guess. It always seems silly to see the members of a football team with a 2-12 record introduced through flames and smoke as though they are terrifying opponents. On the other hand, the level of outrage and disgust from some quarters seems equally silly. It’s as if someone drew a mustache on the Mona Lisa. Let’s lighten up a little.

      1. It was not far off a mustache on Mona Lisa, but the outrage for me is knowing this is a sign of things to come. Attracting young fans and making it in America are the keywords of the new owners, and this was just a taster.

        It’s like sequels in films or whatever. No matter what were the ingredients for the original to be a success, the follow-ups will inevitably drop those and go for the formulaic and dumb-downs.

    14. Here is the deal F1 fans want to see the grid
      Up close with the top guys only Martin Brundle.
      And D C get you in there.
      Liberty are doing a good job but they need to hire more guys like Ross .
      And Sky camera man he gets awesome close ups of the F1 girls

    15. No, in Germany they’ll use David Hasslehoff. Refined taste.

    16. For more excitement for fans based on American style, the thing that would work would be to redesign some of Tilke’s creations in the layout of COTA. At least there was plenty of room for wheel to wheel overtaking.

      Processions at Russia, ultra boring, and are the norm at so many tracks. No point racing if you can’t go past the person in front. I can’t remember where it was when Hamilton said he couldn’t get past, and if he couldn’t nobody could.

      Vettel looked ultra bored when he strolled out of the tunnel. “This is stupid”.

    17. It would be good to know how many people upset over the superficiality of the introductions have also been disappointed by the lack of engine noise from the hybrids.

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