The truth behind Donald Trump’s visit to Miami GB in a story of unfortunate events

McLaren found itself stuck between a rock and a hard place, with Lando Norris’s epic win in Miami closely linked to Donald Trump’s.

When it comes to your first Grand Prix win, voiceover inevitably becomes involved for any Grand Prix driver. Unfortunately for Lando Norris, his first win ended in a tie with Donald Trump.

David Croft’s wordplay was an unnecessary association

“Here, at the checkered flag, Norris overtakes Verstappen and wins the Miami Grand Prix,” was the wordplay used by David Croft as Norris crossed the finish line to win his first Grand Prix in epic fashion, beating Max Verstappen in deserved form.

It was an innocent pun, as Croft and puns go together like chips and sausages, but this particular soundbite is now one that Norris himself will not be able to avoid hearing as he watches this defining moment in his Formula 1 career.

Unfortunately, it spoiled the wonderful moment – ​​after all, would Croft have said something like “Lando Norris had a great show today” if the Russian Grand Prix had still existed?

Think about it – even as a retiree fifty years from now, Norris’ big moment will still be tied to the fact that on this very day, the McLaren team had to host divisive and controversial former US President Donald Trump. Well, “controversial” is one word for him…

Unfortunately for Formula 1, Trump was present at the Miami Grand Prix as an invited guest of real estate tycoon Steven Witkoff.

How Donald Trump ended up in the Formula 1 ring

A fundraising event for Trump’s 2024 Republican presidential campaign was planned inside the track’s pavilion facilities, with tickets worth $250,000 per person, before Miami GP organizers stepped in to issue a cease and desist on the grounds of violating the pavilion’s terms of use. .

But Formula 1 has not been able to stop Trump – who is currently in the middle of four criminal trials on charges including campaign finance fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and against the rights of citizens, election racketeering, and conspiracy to obstruct justice in relation to his mishandling of secrecy. Documents – from those attending the race.

After appearing with a major security detail provided by the US Secret Service, F1 were recruited to facilitate their work within the confines of the Grand Prix circuit.

Trump was then photographed in the McLaren garage, where top Formula 1 figures were happy to pose for photos with the presidential candidate – including McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, FIA President Mohammed Bin Sulayem, and Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, and Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei.

The request made by Trump’s entourage and not F1 to visit the McLaren garage was the reason for Trump’s visit to the circuit, and it is understood that the request was made specifically to McLaren based solely on their hospitality and garage situation. It is also understood that no other teams have received a similar request.

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Naturally, the scenes of the visit were not lost on the McLaren team, which moved quickly to issue a statement about its position.

“McLaren is a non-political organization, however, we recognize and respect the office of the President of the United States,” the statement read.

“Therefore, when the request was made to visit our garage on race day, we accepted along with the FIA ​​President and the executives of Liberty Media and Formula 1.

“We were honored to be chosen by McLaren Racing as the Formula 1 representative, giving us the opportunity to showcase the world-class engineering we bring to motorsport.”

Aside from the fact that Trump does not hold the office of president and has not done so for some time, McLaren is damned if they do, damned if they don’t — there was no stance they could take that would shine a light on them as they opened their doors to Trump.

Trump also visited the grid pre-race, although he did take off his MAGA hat during this visit, and while posing for photos in front of the McLaren garage.

It also led to the unfortunate situation of Norris having to answer questions about Trump’s visit while speaking to the media after winning the jackpot.

“He saw me afterward and came to congratulate me,” Norris said.

“So I think it’s an honor because when you have someone like that, it should be an honor for them to come to you, to take the time of their life, to pay their respects to what you’ve done.

“He said he’s my lucky charm because he’s my winner. So I don’t know if he’ll do any more races now.

“But yeah, there’s a lot of special people or great people who were here this weekend. Donald is someone you have to have a lot of respect for in a lot of ways. And yeah, for anyone like that who recognizes what you can do and recognizes the work ethic that goes into In things, you have to be thankful for that and I was like, yeah, great moment and that’s it.”

Norris’ implicit expression of respect for the well-documented views espoused by Donald Trump may not have been what McLaren intended moments after his first win, but rather to give Norris the benefit of the doubt that he does not hold questionable views or lack moral fiber. His comments sounded like a young athlete desperately trying to stay neutral and get nowhere but sitting directly on the fence.

Donald Trump stands alongside McLaren team boss Zak Brown ahead of the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

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FIA International Sports Code positions on political statements

In 2022, the FIA ​​introduced a clause in international sporting law that strictly prohibits employees under its jurisdiction, including drivers and team members, from expressing any kind of political statement – ​​this was introduced after high-profile moments such as Lewis Hamilton wearing a T-shirt with the words “ Stop the Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor” and his network-wide initiative to highlight the Black Lives Matter movement during 2020.

“The making and public display of political, religious or personal statements or comments, in particular in violation of the principle of general neutrality promoted by the FIA ​​under its Statutes,” the ISC stipulates.

Naturally, there is an argument that his presence alone is not a political statement, and that Formula 1 – and McLaren – did their best to remain neutral in the face of the difficult situation. It’s also worth remembering this context when listening to Norris try to keep this rule in mind as he answers the question about Trump.

But the ISC’s intent regarding political statements must be adhered to across the board in Formula One, not just by drivers and team personnel.

After all, Formula 1 has welcomed bosses past and present in the past – who can forget Bernie Ecclestone cozying up to Vladimir Putin at the Russian Grand Prix in years past – so his presence alone is not enough to warrant any sort of response.

In 2017, former US President Bill Clinton presented the winner’s trophy on the podium at the US Grand Prix, but the notable difference is that neither Clinton – nor his wife Hillary – were preparing for the presidential election at the time.

But was Trump there as a civilian, a celebrity, or an active political figure? Given the Secret Service’s involvement, it’s difficult to say he was there as a civilian or as a former star the Apprentice.

Although they did not appear on the homepage or any of Formula 1’s social media channels, images of Trump wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat — four words that have become synonymous with the cult-like far-right ideology that has permeated the United States — It was subsequently traded. His visit to the farm.

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For any politician on the campaign trail, allowing Trump to walk around in front of the cameras wearing this cap signals tacit endorsement. If a driver or team member wore such a hat in the ring, it would be a political matter that would be investigated, so it cannot be said that such political neutrality was maintained throughout the entire period of Trump’s visit.

If Trump were there as a guest of Witcoff, then surely the display of campaign materials in the ring should be viewed as a failure to comply with the cease and desist order imposed on Witcoff over the weekend. What should the ramifications be?

The solution is to move away, not condemn

Given Formula 1’s attempts to please everyone by trying to remain politically neutral has led to Trump wearing his own brand of symbol for political propaganda in the Formula 1 paddock, there has to be some sympathy for the unwanted attention the former president has drawn. But Formula 1 still has to distance itself from the MAGA message seen around the world, even if not globally.

As for solutions, taking into account that political issues are not limited to the United States at all? After all, top leaders and politicians in other democratic countries often attend races as guests of Formula 1 and the teams, while royal leaders in monarchical states – including those with highly questionable human rights records – are often treated like royalty. On the net as if they were kings. They are raising money to go racing.

Well, no one really is, especially in this case. It is of course possible to refuse a request to the team from a wealthy visitor, but to do so – if McLaren has done so – is as much a political statement as it is not a political statement.

Wearing a MAGA hat, even if it’s not allowed, doesn’t mean an FOM member or FIA employee can run in and snatch it off his head, right? It’s not particularly likely that Trump would be too upset about the Formula 1 race ban now, after the fact, or whether a friend might receive a hefty fine or ban for hosting him at his suite.

But, having navigated the awkward minefield of dealing with Trump’s presence without any proactive messaging, and McLaren also doing its best to move forward without upsetting anyone, it’s time for Formula 1 and the FIA ​​to publicly distance themselves – and not condemn – in order to preserve On its position on political neutrality.

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