Felipe Massa has lead an ensemble of Formula 1 drivers who believe an event like Race Of Champions would be a welcomed addition to a race weekend, as the stars of motorsport get together at London's former Olympic Stadium.
The likes of Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button have all echoed Massa's comments about how Race Of Champions creates an ideal platform to bring Formula 1 drivers together, along with others from various other motorsport disciplines, in a light-hearted and friendly scenario with the added buzz of competition.
Speaking ahead of the event in London, the Williams F1 driver says he'd love to put on an event like Race Of Champions on a regular basis within a Grand Prix weekend, where the drivers' can enjoy each other's company before the serious business of racing.
“I think we have a very good relationship but we need to try to enjoy this a little bit more,” Massa said. “An event like this is really good fun and we enjoy it a lot. Unfortunately, in the Formula 1 paddock we cannot enjoy ourselves so much together like this so we will have fun over these three days. Maybe we need something like this in Formula 1 as well.”
McLaren's Button has nodded his agreement with Massa's plan while Ricciardo admits the logistics and planning might cause a headache but says he keeps coming back to Race Of Champions to indulge in the unusual atmosphere created.
“It is hard to do on an F1 race weekend,” Ricciardo explained. “As you can see a lot of us guys get on but in F1 it is our world and our business and we do take it seriously. On the drivers' parade we talk a bit but other than that we keep to ourselves at the weekend, not because we don't like each other, but it is a selfish sport so you have to look out for yourself.
“So at events like this we can come together over our common interests – our love for racing cars – and do it in a light-hearted atmosphere so it is a lot of fun. We can hang out and get to know each other better and there is no reason to not like each other.”
Four-time F1 champion Vettel, a six-time ROC Nations Cup winner with Team Germany, added that he loves to get together with fellow drivers over a common bond, both from Formula 1 and from further afield.
“It is good to spend time with guys that you have a shared passion,” Vettel said. “I think that the racing bit is great, when the visor goes down everyone wants to win, but I think it is great ever since I started coming. Different drivers from different fields from across the ocean and to meet the people underneath the helmet I think that is another great value of this event. I am looking forward to spending some quality time.”
The Race Of Champions is set to crown the end of the motorsport season with the best from the world of two-wheeled and four-wheeled battling to decide who really is the fastest in the world. The motorsport stars are set to compete on a purpose-built stadium circuit in a series of heats that not only determines which driver is the champion of champions, but also which nation currently boasts the cream of international racers.