Hamlin: NASCAR needs an "F1-style approach" to race weekends

NASCAR Cup Series star Denny Hamlin says he’s been paying more attention to Formula One racing and thinks NASCAR could benefit from how it showcases its product on race weekends.

Listen to this article

Hamlin said his new-found interest in F1 has come from several of his friends paying attention to it and by watching “Drive to Survive,” a popular documentary series produced in a collaboration between Netflix and Formula One to give a behind-the-scenes look at the sport.

“I think this year I’ve probably watched more (F1) races than I have my whole life, for sure. Some of that is driven by social media. My friends are tuning into it. You see that the American press is giving it more attention this year,” Hamlin said.

“Obviously, when you see a buzz or see something on social media about it, you want to kind of tune in and see what’s going on. That’s kind of driven my interest in it, more so than anything.”

Hamlin said his involvement with Netflix in a documentary on driver Bubba Wallace and his first season with 23XI Racing, which Hamlin co-owns with NBA legend Michael Jordan, also encouraged him to check out “Drive to Survive.”

“It certainly made me tune into that to see how they did the production on that and certainly it came across with some good storylines,” he said. “Certainly, I’m a person that will turn into that series as it continues.”

Read Also:

Hamlin, who remains in contention to win his first series championship this year, said NASCAR needs to find a way to make its race weekends more of a “show,” and capitalize on the more competitive racing found in NASCAR.

“It’s crazy because you know – you’ve got probably a 90 percent chance of picking which two guys are going to win (each F1 race). This year has been a little bit different with craziness going on, but there is two people that can win, two teams that can win,” Hamlin said. “There is not much side-by-side racing, as compared to NASCAR, but yet fans and media love it.

“When you talk about how critical fans or media or whoever might be of our racing in NASCAR, it’s head and shoulders above anything going right now. The show is good. Why can’t we get people to turnout?

“Texas was just a big disappointment seeing what was up in the stands there, and yet we are talking about the biggest crowd in history showing up for the COTA F1 race next week. So, there is some kind of disconnect that’s going on that’s not making this deal work.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10 Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB15, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90, Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL34 and the rest of the pack tab the start

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10, leads Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB15, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF90, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10 Alex Albon, Red Bull Racing RB15, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF90, Carlos Sainz Jr., McLaren MCL34 and the rest of the pack tab the start

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

There have, of course, been several sold-out and highly attended NASCAR Cup races in the 2021 season but the atmosphere generated around each weekend varies from track to track.

There remain several protocols in place from the COVID-19 pandemic that limit the number of people in garages and on pit road before races. All but eight race weekends in the Cup series did not have practice or qualifying this year.

In addition, many sponsors cut their at-track activation during the height of the pandemic and not all have returned to former levels.

Hamlin, 40, believes NASCAR can learn something from how F1 is able to maintain the “hype” surrounding its events, even if the racing on the track isn’t as competitive.

“I would love to see us have more of an F1-style approach to a race weekend and how we host hospitalities, parties, just all of those things,” Hamlin said.

“There’s just got to be more to it than us showing up and racing like we are doing right now.”

shares
comments

Related video

Chase Elliott on his NASCAR playoff status: "We'll be alright"
Previous article

Chase Elliott on his NASCAR playoff status: "We'll be alright"

Next article

Ricciardo “would have cried” if he’d heard Earnhardt’s comments

Ricciardo “would have cried” if he’d heard Earnhardt’s comments
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021