It’s not every day we get famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer of “let’s get ready to rumble” fame correctly identifying Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat as “Dany the Torpedooooooo Kvyaaaaaat!”
Formula One fans didn’t seem to know what to do with this American-style sports intro dramarama, complete with slow-motion, high-contrast shots of drivers tipping cowboy hats to an imaginary “m’lady” in the audience.
The driver intro idea sounded delightfully epic when they were practicing it over the track’s sound system earlier this week, but the crowd didn’t seem to get as into it as Americans do for their home-grown series. I mean, half the fun of NASCAR calling out Brad Keselowski’s name after he gets into a post-race fight, for example, is listening to the crowd boo, cheer and heckle him.
Formula One’s new American owners Liberty Media want to make each race more of a spectacle, so they tried out an IndyCar-influenced driver intro for the United States Grand Prix, where it’d be the most familiar to the home crowd.
Yet it didn’t quite flow all that well before the race. The quick remarks done while walking couldn’t even be saved by beloved pit lane reporter Will Buxton, who sort of had to jog along next to Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo to keep up. Sometimes the footage shown at home didn’t quite line up to what Buffer was saying, too, but it is their first time doing it.
By far the best thing about the whole spectacle were the hilarious nicknames given for each driver, though. Lance “The Heartbreaker from Canada” Stroll is more of a car-breaker although I can definitely picture him in some kind of strange Canadian version of Tiger Beat now. Kimi, a no-nonsense mumbling man nicknamed “the Iceman” for good reason, is described as “always smiling.” It takes a lot of coax a true grin out of that guy. Best of all, “Dany the Torpedo Kvyat!” rather accurately described a driver who tends to torpedo his car into others in F1.
And let’s not forget, “hold on to your shoes!”
The SPORTS DRAMA SERIOUS INTRO didn’t flow all that well this time, but then again, the post-race podium interviews felt awkward for a long time before they started to get into a groove, too.
Look, I crave infinitely GIF-able close-ups of Lewis Hamilton’s rad chains and subtle but clever digs at F1's own drivers. This idea needs some tweaking, but please, indulge me here. F1 needs to poke more fun at itself somewhere, and why not in the driver intros? Just get on with it so there’s not so much awkward standing around and waiting for the race we’re there to see.
[H/T WTF1 for the broadcast edit]