‘F1 Live London’ wows crowds, unites almost whole F1 field (PHOTOS)

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The inaugural “F1 Live London” is likely to be considered a smashing success, after an all-day event that took over Trafalgar Square and later featured a car parade in Whitehall.

The brainchild of new Formula 1 owners Liberty Media, the quickly organized and announced takeover was meant to bring the field together before this weekend’s British Grand Prix up the road at Silverstone (times across CNBC, NBC Sports app here).

And certainly while the event would wow hardcore Formula 1 fans, the mix of events – a STEM-focused presentation for youngsters started the afternoon before the car demonstrations and live music took over in the evening – the draw was always meant to engage new fans, which is part of Liberty Media’s goal. The event was live streamed on Formula 1’s official website and on its YouTube channel, something that would have been hard to foresee in the previous era of leadership.

“This is the start of the new regime – taking it back to the people that love Formula 1,” Ross Brawn, Managing Director, Motor Sports, said on stage during one of the interviews before the cars ran.

“This is so encouraging to us. When we see the support that these events create. These guys are the heroes, but we need to bring them out and show them a lot more than in the past. It’s so motivating to see them out there. It’s amazing to see here in London!”

Besides the field of almost all 20 drivers – Lewis Hamilton was a notable no-show on holiday (more on that in a separate post) – the number of F1 luminaries also included the last two World Champions who’ve moved on from full-time driving in Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, past Renault veteran Rene Arnoux, and a host of British drivers turned TV pundits in Martin Brundle, David Coulthard, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert and John Watson.

“It’s absolutely amazing – look at this!” Button exclaimed in his interview. “We need to say a big thank you to you guys. Having you guys here makes it for us. The ‘F1 LIVE LONDON’ is fantastic. Most of you are Formula 1 fans and excited about the Grand Prix, but I’m guessing we’ve got some here who weren’t going to Silverstone. Kids doing pit stop practice which is amazing.

“So thanks to this guy (Brawn)… not for the World Championship, but for making this happen. It’s the first time every single team present at an event that isn’t a Grand Prix. It’s so special for London and for Formula 1.”

Arnoux’s presence meant there were, in fact, 20 full drivers on the stage when the presenters introduced the field as he joined Renault’s full-season drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer. Palmer, somewhat keen to appreciate the moment, joined Arnoux in a throwback firesuit as the only British driver present ahead of the British Grand Prix.

The demonstration laps that ran featured some key highlights. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, in particular, wowed the crowd with a smoke show through his run in the previously all conquering Red Bull RB7 chassis, the car that Sebastian Vettel drove to a dominant World Championship victory in the 2011 season.

Vettel also impressed the crowd in his run, and certainly gained some new fans on a day when his championship adversary loomed large by his absence.

Some of the photos – there was no way to capture all of them – are below on what was a great afternoon and evening for the sport.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 11: A Red Bull Racing Showcar takes its place on Trafalgar Square in the build up to the F1 Live London event taking place on Wednesday 12th July from 12pm to 9pm. The spectacular show will feature Formula 1 teams, drivers and cars, alongside a host of stars and headline music acts,ahead of the British Grand Prix, at Trafalgar Square on July 11, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Ex F1 World Champion Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda at the Pirelli Pit Stop Challenge stand during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: A general view of race cars at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: A general view of Ferrari and Red Bull race cars at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Chase Carey, CEO and Executive Chairman of the Formula One Group poses for a photo during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: A general view of fans as they take photos a Red Ball race car at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Young fans attempt a tyre change at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Formula 1)
on stage at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: A general view from the air showing the course for the showruns during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and Ferrari prepares to drive during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP greets fans during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Bastille perform on stage at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: A general view at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: (L-R) David Coulthard, Rochelle Humes, Johnny Herbert, Damon Hill, John Watson and Jake Humphrey on stage at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: (L-R) Jake Humphrey, Maurizio Arrivabene, Christian Horner, Toto Wolff and Rochelle Humes on stage at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Formula 1)
on stage at the F1 Live in London event at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Fans enjoy the event during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium and McLaren Honda drives the MP4-6 during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Lance Stroll of Canada and Williams drives the Williams FW36 during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Pascal Wehrlein of Germany and Sauber F1 drives the Sauber C32 during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing and Felipe Massa of Brazil and Williams prepare to drive during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Carlos Sainz of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives the STR8 during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Patrik Lundin/Getty Images for Formula 1)
during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London.
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari driving the Ferrari SF15-T during F1 Live London at Trafalgar Square on July 12, 2017 in London, England. F1 Live London, the first time in Formula 1 history that all 10 teams come together outside of a race weekend to put on a show for the public in the heart of London. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images for Formula 1)

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”