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Pirelli boss: F1 drivers should learn from NASCAR stars

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Pirelli boss: F1 drivers should learn from NASCAR stars
By:
Apr 6, 2015, 10:00 AM

Pirelli motorsport boss Paul Hembery says Formula 1 should learn from NASCAR about how to make the drivers the stars of the sport.

Felipe Massa, Williams FW37
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari with the drivers as the grid observes the national anthem
The drivers observe the national anthem on the grid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 on the drivers parade

The Briton believes that fans are eager to see heroes in Formula 1, and he feels that is missing from Grand Prix racing.

"I'd like to see the drivers becoming the heroes. The fans want a hero," Hembery told The Guardian newspaper in an interview.

"They want an iconic person to follow. And they want to know that when driver X is winning he's actually making a difference.

"In NASCAR the driver is the king. Even the guy at the bottom is a superstar with a multi-million dollar contract. I would love to see our drivers held in that esteem.

"In F1 the driver has to become an international superstar, like David Beckham.

"When people sit in a bar and watch Lewis Hamilton win a race they think great, but they also think that five other drivers in that Mercedes car could have done the same job, and that is a shame."

Drivers should embrace "iconic" helmets

Hembery was also critical of Formula 1 drivers for complaining about the new rule introduced this year to ban helmet design changes.

"We've got drivers who don't understand why it's crap to change a helmet every race, and moan and bitch about it," he added.

"Everyone knows an iconic driver's helmet, going back to Graham Hill and Ayrton Senna.

"It's part of their identity, because fans can't see them with their hats on.

"So it was a very good thing telling them to register a helmet design and keep with it."

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