As the 2017 United States F1 Grand Prix took place on the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas a few days ago, something caught my eye at the US GP and that was the Driver Presentations before the race.
In the near-20 years watching the sport, it was something of the unknown as boxing Master of Ceremonies Michael Buffer introduced the drivers before the GP started. At first, there was excitement when the news was announced that Buffer would be there in Austin, Texas but I had second thoughts when it happened on Sunday 22 October 2017.
Yes, it was something different for F1 to develop it’s audience in the United States, but the execution left me with a strange taste in my mouth. I felt as if I was watching a boxing match rather than F1, but when Daniel Ricciardo was announced as “Riccy Rocket” by Buffer, it felt out of place for the pinnacle of motorsport to have something like that.
Since I have so much respect for Buffer with his contributions to professional wrestling and boxing, I cannot blame him for his contribution pre-GP. Sometimes you have to try new things to grab casual F1 fans, but at the end of the day you cannot always like everything about a hobby as there are going to be things you like or dislike about it.
One thing I have always loved about Buffer is his catchphrase “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!” and when I heard it before the formation lap, it definitely got me in the zone to watch the GP. That was the redeeming feature of an otherwise weird combination that I could not understand.
Hats off to F1 for trying something different but if the current format works, then it makes sense to not fix what is broken.