McLaren, winner Norris, defend Trump’s Miami GP visit

"We recognise and respect the office of president of the United States"


6 May 2024 - 15:51
McLaren, winner Norris, defend (...)

McLaren insists it is "non-political", as the Formula 1 team faces backlash for welcoming Donald Trump into its garage in Miami.

Earlier, it emerged that race organisers had blocked a businessman close to the former US president from conducting a $250,000 a head fundraiser for Trump in the paddock club.

But Trump, who is running for president again this year, was nonetheless invited to the circuit because those paying for paddock club hospitality "can invite whoever they want", according to Osterreich newspaper.

Trump then posed for photographs in the pitlane with McLaren CEO Zak Brown, was given a guided tour of the garage, and met team driver Lando Norris, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc before the trio went onto the podium on Sunday.

"He came up to congratulate me," Norris said afterwards. "It has to be an honour for someone like this to come up to you, take time out of their life, to pay their respect for what you’ve done.

"He said he was my lucky charm because it’s my win," the British driver added. "Donald is someone that you got to have a lot of respect for in many ways. So yeah, a cool moment."

Why McLaren? Sources believe the team was chosen because it is now fully owned by Bahrain, with RTL explaining that the Kingdom is "closely linked" to the US militarily.

On social media, many F1 fans slammed McLaren for getting involved in divisive US politics.

The team responded: "McLaren is a non-political organisation, however we recognise and respect the office of president of the United States so when the request was made to visit our garage on race day we accepted alongside the president of the FIA and the CEOs of Liberty Media and Formula 1.

"We were honoured that McLaren was chosen as the representative of F1 which gave us the opportunity to showcase the world class engineering that we bring to motorsport," the Woking based team added.

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