F1 Racing's Powerful Draw: Big-Name Musicians

Entertainers have embraced the Formula One series
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2023 5:05 AM CST
An Odd Pairing: F1 Racing and Big-Name Musicians
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, of Mexico, left, walks with Puerto Rican reggaeton musician Bad Bunny before a Formula One Miami Grand Prix auto race at Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Fla., on May 8, 2022. As the sport grows in popularity, race weekends are transforming into mini music...   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

Beyond the engineering, the athleticism, the speed, the luxury—fans love the sound of Formula One. The fierce rhythms of a V6 turbocharged hybrid engine; the sticky staccato of a rushed downshift; sexy, loud zooms. There's a real musical appreciation for the elite motorsport, per the AP. Engines are described using RPMs, the same way vinyl records are. It is no wonder that F1 has long been an enthusiasm of musicians and music fans for decades—the Beatles' George Harrison wrote "Faster" about the series, what he called "a noisy rock and roll"; the same spirit that inspired a Mario Andretti namecheck in A Tribe Called Quest's "Award Tour." But in the last few years, an accelerating interest in F1, particularly among young Americans, has made its influence on the music world—and vice versa—impossible to ignore.

There's Bad Bunny's "Monaco" and Carín León's "Por La Familia," both of which feature Red Bull driver Sergio "Checo" Perez in their videos. The up-and-coming indie twang band Wednesday released a track called "Formula One" on their 2023 album. Musicians loving F1 is limited to no genre and no country—its appeal is as global as the sport itself. (A Netflix documentary Drive to Survive appears to have helped, particularly with a younger audience.) A prime example is this weekend's inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will see F1 drivers zipping down the strip, bathed in the electric glow of its opulent casinos. The race is Sunday, but countless events got underway Wednesday, including an opening ceremony with will.i.am, J Balvin, Tiësto, John Legend, Keith Urban, Kylie Minogue, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and more.

Concerts have become an expected addition to the F1 experience, and the trend has made its way stateside over the last decade. This year, will.i.am became Formula One's first Global Artist in Residence, which he pitched to Formula One Group CEO Stefano Domenicali as a series of musical collaborations celebrating the sport as well as an opportunity to bring the concert aspect of F1 to a global audience—not just the ticket holders lucky enough to see it live. The role led the Black Eyed Peas' member to release his first solo single in over a decade: "The Formula," featuring Lil Wayne. That was followed by "Let's Go," another F1-inspired track, which features J Balvin. Read the full story, which notes that F1 drivers have been dabbling in music, too.

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