Once upon a time in Formula 1 McLaren boss Ron Dennis would have forced his drivers to have fashionable military-style haircuts, now the team sees its current stars in crop tops on American television.
F1 has undoubtedly changed since the Berine Ecclestone era which ended in 2016, but it took the Miami Grand Prix for the serious fun to begin.
The sport arrives in Florida for the first time for the fifth round of the championship, breaking the US market with its second race on the schedule, Las Vegas making the third next year.
The United States has always promised glamor to rival the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix, but Miami has taken a different route with the busiest drivers and teams in Florida.
Pre-race events have seen American sports royalty like Tom Brady and Michael Jordan hanging out with Lewis Hamilton and Pierre Gasly, while American viewers are getting used to the current grid well.
The Netflix series Drive to Survive has cracked the US market, with Daniel Ricciardo adding The Daily Show and The Late Late Show With James Corden to his resume this week.
Sports was a big theme, with Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsuonda arguably having the best time of the lot.
After taking on Katie Taylor against Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden, the 5ft 3in driver was then seen training with the Miami Dolphins alongside 6ft 5in star Jaelen Phillips.
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Things then went to another level when Tsunoda took part in swamp races with Red Bull rider Max Verstappen in 900hp mega machines.
Verstappen himself opted for baseball, throwing a first pitch in a Miami Marlins game alongside teammate Sergio Perez, while title rival Charles Leclerc was also on hand.
It’s not the only sport F1 has encountered, with British Mercedes star George Russell riding the jumbotron during a Miami Heat game, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon kept it original with the David Beckham’s Inter Miami football team.
The last time F1 attempted to break into the American market, the sport suffered a spectacular failure when Michael Schumacher had beer thrown at him despite only six cars showing up at the Indianapolis Grand Prix due tire failures.
His son Mick, however, is much luckier, feeling comfortable with the Miami Dolphins while attending a practice session.
The Haas driver excelled in setting and throwing drills, before hitting the Dolphins slide at their practice complex, making many new friends in the United States.
There is no doubt that F1 drivers have felt the love, so much so that it has been reciprocated in helmets, racing suits and special edition liveries.
British star Norris has been far too busy playing golf and hanging out with Gavin and Stacey Corden creator to attend professional sports, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting inspired to win the best helmet in the world. weekend competition.
The 22-year-old McLaren driver will sport a basketball design, standing out well against personalized covers from Zhou Guanyu and Fernando Alonso.
Williams, however, arguably put in the biggest effort of the lot, with the team recently bought by American owners, they pulled out all the stops on the Miami theme.
Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi sported palm-covered clothing, while their demo car was decked out in a bold graffiti design.
F1’s biggest star Hamilton kept things relatively low-key after turning down the opportunity to go to the star-studded MET Gala in New York for the second year in a row, but was complete when asked on the impact of sports in the United States.
He said: “Growing up knowing how amazing this sport is and seeing that there was still a certain disconnect between the United States and the rest of the world in terms of the passion for this sport, it’s really amazing. to see that we have cracked it and there is a growing love in the United States.
“There are massive sports fans there. And I mean, Miami is going to be an experience for all of us, for the racing community, for those who are the fans watching, the fans going to fly who may not have been there before.
“The United States has a lot to offer in this space, so it’s super exciting.”
The excitement is certainly real, marking a gigantic contrast to the days when Hamilton and Alonso rocked the grid with their locks cut, getting straight to work.
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