What’s Italian for ‘Sense of Humour’…?

Posted on October 29, 2015.

A bit of dancing for the wet grandstand
A bit of dancing for the wet grandstand

Maurizio Arrivabene says Ferrari didn’t join in the “circus” antics to entertain spectators during the qualifying washout at the US GP because it missed the point of how he thinks teams should interact with fans. “We are a Formula 1 team and not Cirque du Soleil,” the team principal said.

Kimi Raikkonen likened the japes – Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat danced in the pitlane, Max Verstappen cast a fishing line while mechanics built boats from equipment lying around – to a circus after Sunday’s race and the theme was taken up by his team principal.

“There is something that people notice and something that is bigger but people don’t notice. First of all we are a Formula 1 team and not Cirque du Soleil,” said Arrivabene, who has a marketing background with tobacco giant Philip Morris.

Both Friday’s second practice and Saturday’s qualifying were washed out, with a third of Austin’s annual rainfall – about 10 inches – falling in the space of three days. Car parks became waterlogged and at one point the threat of lightning barred the entry of spectators on safety grounds.

After qualifying was eventually postponed to Sunday, those who did persist were allowed into the pitlane to meet the drivers – something which Arrivabene said Ferrari were more than happy to take part in.
“The fact that they’re there,” he said of the fun and games, “somebody was entertaining the public, it’s absolutely fine. But nobody was out there when we stand and we sign all the autographs to the people that were waiting. Nobody was there when we took some of the children in wheelchairs to our box.

“We prefer to do these things instead of simulate fishing or the other things. I mean they’re funny on television but they’re giving smiles without doing something really for the fans.”

Not that everyone agrees with Arrivabene. “Sorry Ferrari but I loved the ingenuity of teams/drivers in the car-less qualifying of Austin,” Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle tweeted on Wednesday. “Cirque du Soleil is brilliant, you were boring.”

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