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‘F1 Live’ London event to feature car demo, education, music

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Ahead of this week’s British Grand Prix, Formula 1 is taking to the heart of London first for a new “F1 Live” event that features a mix of drivers, education and live music.

New F1 owners Liberty Media have sought greater fan engagement as part of its longer term strategy and such an event like this, to be held in Trafalgar Square with a car parade in Whitehall, seems to match those goals.

It will be the first time all 10 teams will have a car in action at a demo event outside a race weekend, which at Silverstone is a rare four-day affair anyway with some F2 and GP3 action shifted to Thursday.

Alas, the F1 Schools and Innovation Showcase will run from noon to 4 p.m. before the F1 Live London Show and Parade from 5:30 to 9 p.m. F1 will stream the event both on its website and its YouTube page.

The Schools and Innovation Showcase is designed to help children, young adults, teachers and parents learn about F1 careers and opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). These type of events are common in the U.S. as a couple manufacturers in sports cars and occasionally drivers in IndyCar have helped to teach the next generation about these skills, but not so much in F1.

That’s the precursor before the F1 Live London Show and Parade, with both show cars and live action to take place along with live music.

“F1 Live London is the most striking example yet of Formula 1’s evolution this year,” Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at F1 said in a release. “We feel there is no better way to celebrate the exciting season we have had so far than to have this landmark event in London on the eve of the British Grand Prix. This is all about giving our fans the opportunity to get closer to the teams, cars and drivers they love.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan added, “F1 Live London is a brilliant opportunity to show young people in our city that learning about science and engineering can provide them with fantastic careers, and can be great fun. It will also bring fans of all ages and backgrounds together to celebrate a sport they are passionate about and in which Britain is a world leader.”

The FIA Formula E Championship, which held races in London’s Battersea Park as well as a street demo itself earlier in its history, couldn’t resist the opportunity to note it’s been on London’s streets before.

Usain Bolt, Bill Clinton among headline guests for USGP at COTA

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The Circuit of The Americas paddock ahead of the United States Grand Prix may have been busy with teams and drivers preparing for lights out, but much of the attention lay with a number of headline guests including former presidents and Olympic champions.

As part of its plans to up the excitement levels ahead of Sunday’s grand prix and mirror other sporting events, F1’s new owner, Liberty Media, announced plans a couple of weeks ago to link up with iconic boxing announcer Michael Buffer and eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt for the pre-race festivities.

Ahead of today’s race in Austin, Buffer will introduce the drivers in a number of groups before offering the call for drivers to start their engines, similar to the pre-race procedure for the Indianapolis 500.

Honorary race starter Bolt, who competed in his last athletic world championship event in London earlier this year, will appear on the start line to complete his signature victory pose before waving the green flags to launch the formation lap.

Bolt was also treated to a hot lap around COTA by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton before the start of the formal pre-race build up program in Austin.

Liberty issued a list of celebrities and other public figures who are confirmed to be attending today’s race, including Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden and actor Owen Wilson among others.

One name that wasn’t on the list? 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, who quickly became a focus for the paddock upon arrival three hours before lights out.

The United States Grand Prix is live on NBC and NBC Sports app from 2pm ET today.