F1 | US GP | Norris: “We do a lot to try and engage the fans... and make them feel like they're part of the family”
Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo reveal how they have worked diligently alongside the McLaren team to engage fans over the years to make them feel included which has ultimately paid off as they are named favorite F1 team.
The United States Grand Prix has wrapped and lived up to its reputation that everything in Texas is bigger. The crowds were massive and reached over 400,000 people over the entire race weekend.
Since America is one of the largest countries in the world, it's evident that their population has a substantial impact on sports such as F1. With that being said, it's also no surprise that the people in the U.S. heavily contributed to the numbers in a recent survey that named McLaren the favorite team in F1.
There is no doubt that the popular docuseries Drive to Survive on Netflix has been crucial to recruiting more F1 fans especially American ones since it premiered in 2019. However, when it comes to the most popular F1 team across all countries, the McLaren team has earned that title.
Both McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are popular with fans across the world. They have both worked hard with McLaren to embrace their fanbase in unique ways that have paid off tremendously and therefore contributed to them being named favorite F1 team.
Engaging the fans is one of McLaren’s core attributes. After the pandemic prevented fans from attending races, McLaren utilized technology with their sponsor Webex to engage it’s fans from all over the world throughout the season. Whether it was a short web call with Norris, Ricciardo, or head boss Zak Brown, these virtual face-to-face calls have been crucial to making the fans feel included and part of the McLaren family.
After the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, MotorLat spoke to both drivers.
Norris was asked about what it means to be voted favorite team by fans in the recent survey done by F1:
“You don't hear the fans while driving. Sorry. If someone says they do their lying. It makes us feel good as a team, and not just myself, but us as a team, because we do a lot to try and engage the fans and, and bring them on board and make them feel like they're part of the family and part of our progress over the last few years,” Norris replied.
While it's imperative for the F1 teams to focus on track duties such as car performance, the McLaren team also goes above and beyond to prioritize its fans in a meaningful way that has resulted in massive amounts of support across the world.
“So it's nice to see, we've not just made progress on track, but also off track anway. And it's cool, you know, the amount of McLaren hats and T shirts and things was definitely the most compelling to any other team this weekend,” Norris continued.
“So that's awesome. To have that support the people cheering us on everywhere. It just makes it a much cooler environment for everyone.”
“So yeah, awesome job by the team for having a focus on the team because it definitely makes a difference.”
Daniel Ricciardo on the other hand has always been vocal about his fondness of America especially Texas and fully embraces the cowboy culture every time he visits the lone star state. The Aussie showed up in full blown cowboy gear for media day with a matching mustache.
He even wore a burnt orange jersey, the color associated with the University of Texas Longhorrns for the driver's parade at the United States Grand Prix with a cowboy hat. It's safe to say that the 32-year old McLaren driver has a soft spot not only for Texas but especially for its capital Austin.
However, if you want to know what Ricciardo loves most about Austin, he revealed it to Motorlat:
“I mean, what what like the first thing I do when I get here is have barbecue. It's the best I've ever had, you know, traveling the world. So that's, that's probably the best thing I enjoy.”
For the American fans, there is nothing more exciting than seeing an F1 driver fully embrace your culture especially since there are no Americans in the pinnacle of motorsports currently. Whether he is sporting a cowboy hat, speaking with a Texas accent or driving a Nascar car around COTA, Ricciardo has not only won over the American fans, he has been fully adopted as one of them as well.