F1 drivers split on return of pre-race introductions in Vegas

Valtteri Bottas and Charles Leclerc have had their say on the incoming driver introductions set to take place prior to the formation lap of Saturday night’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Last seen in Miami, a ceremony will take place on the Vegas grid introducing the drivers to the onlooking spectators ahead of the race getting underway.

The event back in May at the Floridian venue drew criticism from a lot of the drivers, with concerns that ‘the show’ interrupted the drivers’ preparation ahead of lights out.

However, it is touted that this weekend’s driver introduction will be a more streamlined affair, given that Wednesday’s opening ceremony ran smoother than the Miami equivalent

“Today the whole thing took 30 minutes of our time, so that’s OK,” Bottas said.

“I think it was much more efficient than what we did in Miami, for example, so we’ve learned the lessons.

“And what they’ll be doing here before the race it will be a shorter version of what we did in Miami.

“Today, the day before we start driving, 30 minutes it’s not too much.”

Bottas hopes the Vegas driver introductions go smoother than in Miami – Photo: XPB Images

Wednesday’s ceremony saw drivers presented to an audience in the main grandstand on the start/finish straight, with accompanying light shows and musical acts.

Whilst Bottas is happy with the current proposal put forward, Ferrari’s Leclerc is wary that a line is being crossed for the drivers.

The Monegasque driver has no issue with ceremonies before the weekend action gets underway but feels some moments should be reserved exclusively for the drivers.

“Today we are on Wednesday so it’s fine that we have got this opening ceremony and all of this,” Leclerc explained.

“Then 10 minutes before getting into the car, that’s where we need to be in our zone and not disturbed with whatever is going on around the race. That has to be protected.

“I think for us drivers this moment before the race, not only 10 minutes before, but I think from the laps to the grid onwards, we should be left alone so we can focus on the actual racing.”

“But these are the kind of things that maybe needs to be tweaked a little bit in the future. But it’s the way it is now. I don’t think we can change it for Saturday.”

The topic of entertainment versus racing has been hot in Vegas, unlike the predictions for track temperatures once the action gets going.

Max Verstappen has been a leading voice in being against the added entertainment value being put on in Vegas, referring to the GP as “99% show, and 1% sporting event.”

The Las Vegas GP driver introduction ceremony will take place along with a performance of the national anthem – commencing 22 minutes before the formation lap.

Lights out for the Grand Prix is scheduled to take place at 10 PM local time on Saturday evening (8 AM Sunday GMT).

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