Donald Trump: The unexpected talisman of Lando Norris and McLaren

Donald Trump: The unexpected talisman of Lando Norris and McLaren

A total of 110 races and 16 podiums later, Lando Norris has for the first time entered the Formula 1 Grand Prix winner’s list. The Briton made the most of a lucky break in the form of a safety car at just the right moment to beat Max Verstappen. A long-awaited moment for the McLaren leader… and one that was celebrated by many of his grid mates, including Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz.

Of course, the McLaren party was in full swing after the win (including a dedication to the late Gil de Ferran)… not least because the British team had not won a Grand Prix since Monza 2021 (the previous victory, by Oscar Piastri in 2023, came in a sprint race), with Ricciardo winning… over a Lando Norris who was forced to respect team orders in his wake.

Ryan Garcia shows his support for Donald Trump with a short boxing exhibition

Trump, the most controversial VIP at the Miami GP

McLaren was the centre of attention after the race… but also before. In a Grand Prix characterised by the stellar presence of VIPs (from Kendall Jenner to Ed Sheeran, Marc Anthony, Patrick Mahomes, Zinedine Zidane and many others)… among which one stood out above all others. None other than former US President Donald Trump.

Trump, now in the midst of an election race (the 47th American president will be elected in November), attended the race as a guest of the British team, skippered by his compatriot Zak Brown. Undoubtedly, the paddock of a Formula 1 Grand Prix in a key state like Florida (prone to the businessman) does not ‘spare’, even in pre-campaign.

His presence generated controversy… to the point that the British team itself had to publicly clarify the reason for inviting the Republican candidate, specifying that this fact did not imply support for the political option he represents: “McLaren is an apolitical organisation, but we recognise and respect the office of the President of the United States,” they explained in a statement.

‘So when we were asked to visit our garage on race day, we agreed along with the FIA President and the CEOs of Liberty Media and Formula 1. We were honoured that McLaren Racing was chosen as F1’s representative, giving us the opportunity to showcase the world-class engineering we bring to motorsport,” they added.

Trump was Norris’s ‘lucky charm’

Be that as it may, what is certain is that the presence of Donald Trump brought luck to the hosts. The President, who received a standing ovation of “USA, USA!” from the main grandstand at the start of the race, also came down to the podium to greet the winner, Lando Norris.

“I didn’t see him in the garage before the race because I was busy getting ready, but he came to see me afterwards to congratulate me. He said it was my lucky charm because it was my first win, so I don’t know if he’ll come to more races now,” Norris joked after the race on the subject.

“Donald is a person to respect in many ways, and I guess it was an honour for him to come up to me and take a moment out of his life to acknowledge what I’ve done. It was a great moment,” he added.

He wanted to be at the 500 Miles

Trump is in the midst of campaigning for a return to the US presidency (he was the 45th president and aspires to become the 47th) and seems to have put the spotlight on motor racing, although not at every major motoring event has he been so well received.

His presence at the Miami Grand Prix was personal, but Trump also had plans to take centre stage at the summer’s other big motorsport event: the Indianapolis 500.

As revealed by RACER, his candidacy planned to sponsor one of the cars that will take part in the 108th edition of the legendary race, but the organisation did not give the go-ahead to that action to avoid political controversy. “IndyCar does not approve sponsorships associated with elected officials, candidates for political office or political action committees,” IndyCar management told the American publication.

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