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F1’s Divisive Pre-Race Ceremony Goes Global



Pre-Race Ceremony F1 2023

Debuting at the Miami Grand Prix, the polarizing pre-race driver introduction ceremony has stirred mixed reactions among F1 drivers. Featuring individual driver presentations by LL Cool J and a orchestra, this new ritual has been deemed both “distracting” and “unnecessary” by some, while others, like Lewis Hamilton, have defended its value.

The contentious pre-race driver introduction ceremony, which premiered at the Miami Grand Prix, is expected to appear at additional races this year, beyond just the three American events.

Twenty minutes before the formation lap began, each of the 20 F1 drivers was introduced individually by American rapper LL Cool J. The introductions were accompanied by an orchestra led by, playing a version of a song created by and Lil Wayne specifically for the Miami GP.

The majority of drivers simply walked out, waved to the audience, and assumed their usual positions for the national anthem. Only three drivers paused briefly to converse with LL Cool J.

Many drivers heavily criticized this new procedure, describing the timing of the introductions as “distracting” and “unnecessary.” They argued that no other sport would demand this of its participants just before an event. However, a minority, including Lewis Hamilton, defended the introductions.

Unhappy drivers will need to adjust, as the pre-race introduction ceremony is scheduled to occur at approximately eight grand prix events this season.

F1 introduced the ceremony to help fans at the venue and those watching from home become more familiar with the competing drivers.


This change is part of F1’s planned evolution of pre-race procedures, which have remained relatively consistent over the past few decades, with occasional exceptions such as the driver introductions at the 2017 United States Grand Prix.

Although most drivers acknowledged the entertainment value the ceremony offers, they personally disliked the procedure and suggested it should only take place at a limited number of races.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez expressed, “I think as long as we don’t do it in too many locations, it’s nice to do it once for the crowd, but we also have to be very respectful of the drivers.” He emphasized the importance of giving drivers time to prepare, adding, “It’s just minutes before the race start, and I think as long as this doesn’t happen very often, it’s OK.”

Fernando Alonso advocated for consistency in pre-race procedures, suggesting they should be standardized for all races.

He said, “If we have to do it, I think we need to remove some of the other stuff we are doing like the parade lap or something, because it’s really in the middle of the preparation with engineers and the strategy meeting.”

Alonso also expressed disagreement with the selective implementation of the ceremony: “If we do it, we have to do it everywhere because I don’t think that the Miami fans are better than the Italian fans in Imola or in Spain or in Mexico or in Japan.”

He concluded by emphasizing the importance of maintaining the same rules and pre-race show for every event.


Pre-Race Ceremony F1 2023 Pre-Race Ceremony F1 2023 Pre-Race Ceremony F1 2023 Pre-Race Ceremony F1 2023 Pre-Race Ceremony F1 2023

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