Bob McMurray: All the world's a stage
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Podium interviews are no place for inept 'faces' - bring on more motor racing nous.
It is a difficult stretch to compare that farce in the US over the past many months around trying to choose the best from the very worst to be the next version of "the most powerful person in the world" to happenings in Formula 1 racing, but stick with me here.
Actually even that title, "the most powerful person" is a typically pompous expression by a country that is scrabbling to make the rest of the world believe that it still calls the shots.
I am sure Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are, like the rest of us, shaking their heads in disbelief as if the whole extravagant pageant was a TV pilot show for America's Worst President.
Most of the world was laughing at this sham at the same time as they were darkly fearing the outcome, whoever it was going to be.
What I do find strange, and it was illustrated in so many ways, was the way that campaigns relied heavily on the use of actors and pop stars in endorsing the two presidential hopefuls.
Suddenly there were the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, a high school dropout, lecturing the voting populace on the finer points of the Democratic Party or boxer Mike Tyson telling all who would listen that the Republican party candidate is the one to go for.
So what, you may ask yet again, has this got to do with motorsport or more specifically Formula 1?
Well, we have actors now trying to be the "experts" interviewing the drivers on the podium after the race and making a complete, embarrassing hash of it when what is needed is someone with at least a modicum of knowledge about the sport having an entertaining and non-cringeworthy chat with the podium place getters.
At the US Grand Prix there was an actor, Gerard Butler was his name, playing to the crowd but getting nothing but the usual platitudes about "how awesome is my team" and "it was a difficult race" and even more regularly "you fans in [insert country] are absolutely amazing, the best".
Pretty much the same stuff because of the same bland questions.
We have seen such racing "experts" as Placido Domingo, Elton John and Arnold Schwarzenegger get up there and swagger their stuff but make no contribution to anything related to the sport.
Even some of the people within the sport have made a hash of it and here I am thinking of multiple race winner Jacky Ickx at the Belgian GP and at this year's Austrian GP with that lovely lady from the Spanish Movistar TV channel by the name of Noemi de Miguel, who could hardly speak English and left the drivers and the fans bemused after asking some insightful questions such as "how do you feel just now?"
Even at the Mexican Grand Prix, when the drama of the last few laps meant the final place on the podium was in doubt due to dramatic events as the race came to an end, and Sebastian Vettel, showing an arrogance that is leaving some to think he may be becoming a little unhinged once again painting himself as a being above all others, we had an expert racing driver -- in this case Juan Pablo Montoya -- failing to ask anything more than the usual platitudes.
So the first thing is, if the interviews are to be conducted in English, get a fluent English speaker to do the job.
Secondly, get someone with some insight and with skill in interviewing the drivers, to ask "proper" questions. People such as David Coulthard or Martin Brundle, who manage to extract just a little more insight into the race from the winners than most.
The sport is dealing with a worldwide audience and is not some fishing contest prizegiving or a rugby club after-match speech session, so make the whole thing more professional -- either that or do the exact opposite and make it a non-sporting event.
I do recognise that having stars of stage, screen and music on show brings the podium shambles into another sphere of audience and if ever someone such as Adele, Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift should be let loose then the ceremony would be seen by countless millions of their fans and Formula 1 can claim a greater "reach" of people. I get that, but make it one thing or the other and not the messy fiasco that it often turns out to be. It is either meaningful or show business.
Either that or make sure Daniel Ricciardi gets on to the podium at every race to inject some fun into it all by making it into a celebration and not a lament.