The Brad Pitt, Martin Brundle F1 Grid Walk ‘Snub’ Controversy Is Dumb
It shouldn’t be a big deal that Brad Pitt declined an interview with Martin Brundle during the USGP F1 grid walk. And yet.
Another Formula 1 grand prix, another grid walk so-called snub for Martin Brundle. The former F1 driver and current Sky Sports commentator, Brundle's been brushed off by celebrities before as he asks for interviews during pre-race grid walks. But it seems like each time his requests are denied, F1 fans get up in arms on Twitter, trashing the integrity of whichever celebrity it was that did the snubbing. And it's exhausting. This time at the USGP in Austin, Texas, the celebrity was Brad Pitt.
Pitt was at the U.S. grand prix last weekend, presumably to get a feel for the sport as part of doing research for his upcoming F1 movie, which is being produced by Apple TV. Seven-time world champion F1 driver Lewis Hamilton is also a producer and consultant on the film.
When Brundle spotted Pitt during his customary grid walk, he immediately asked for an interview, to which the American actor declined, seemingly saying, "Not for me, man. Not for me. Have a great weekend, though." Brundle continued by asking if Pitt could say anything about the upcoming movie, but Pitt again declined, saying "No, not yet. Top secret." Brundle pressed for an answer one more time as Pitt continued to walk away, and once again declined.
You can see the interaction in the embedded tweet below:
Afterward, F1 fans were predictably upset with the actor. Brundle is F1 royalty as far as many fans are concerned and his grid walks have long been a staple of pre-race TV. However, celebrities regularly decline Brundle's requests for interviews, oftentimes quite awkwardly. Pitt's "snub" was actually among the least awkward and most polite. Yet, F1 commentators and fans are still taking to social media.
At the Miami GP back in May, another Brundle-snubbing (which sounds like it belongs on Urban Dictionary) made headlines when tennis legend Serena Williams politely declined an interview. Yet it was seen by F1 fans as incredibly disrespectful toward Brundle. And it's not as if Brundle hasn't contributed to his own fair share of awkwardness during grid walks, such as when he strangely asked rapper Megan Thee Stallion to perform an impromptu freestyle rap about the race, or when he mistook someone else for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
After the Miami GP, Brundle took to Twitter to talk about why he gets annoyed when celebrities shut him down. According to him, it's for the fans, as he knows they all want to be there during the grid walk to see their favorite drivers and teams, while indifferent celebrities are there instead, only to promote their own brands. Sticking up for the little guy, then?
According to UK broadcaster Will Buxton, all grid-accredited media members are given a list of which celebrities will be available for interview. Buxton claims that Pitt was never on the list at any point during the race weekend in Austin. So it's possible that Brundle knew Pitt would refuse to be interviewed and decided to ask anyway. This means it's also possible that Brundle knows he's going to be declined every time he asks for an interview. So maybe he's the one looking for attention.
Even if that's true, I don't care and neither should anyone else. It's such a silly thing for anyone to get mad over. However, countless fans don't see a problem directing their rage at celebrities who, in their eyes, slight Brundle, and that can quickly become toxic. There's no place in this sport for that.
Got a tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org