I expressed the opinion on The Flying Lap a few weeks ago that the F1 industry should show a lot more respect when the national anthems of races are played on the grid. This happens at around 15 minutes prior to the race start and for the most part is completely ignored by the TV world feed and the F1 personnel milling around. Not only is this disrespectful (to countries that in many cases have decided to pay for an F1 race in order to embolden their place on the global platform) but also unprofessional: you only have to watch the anthems at other major sporting events to know that these are prime areas for repetitive, emotional viewership.
The traditional argument is that the drivers and technicians are too busy at this stage to be called to attention. I accept that – although I don’t really see the difference between standing under an umbrella on the grass verge of the grid and standing to attention while the country’s anthem is played.
The solution, I think, is for every team to designate a representative to stand in file at the front of the grid while the anthem is played. It doesn’t matter who is nominated: it could be a different team representative every race – just as teams often re-shuffle the representative who will stand on the podium.
The world feed cameras could then switch from team member to team member (with name graphics on the lower-thirds) and then to the local dignitaries. The TV networks of the world should then be obliged to broadcast that brief ceremony as part of their rights contract. No skipping to ads; no reverting to more pre-race banter. This is serious. This is the national anthem of a Formula One, FIA World Championship Grand Prix. The moment should not be treated lightly.