F1 superfans JJ and TJ Watt vow allegiance to Haas at Miami Grand Prix

MIAMI – JJ and TJ Watt could have chosen any team with which to participate in their first Formula 1 race, but at the Miami Grand Prix they never had an eye on anyone other than the American team Haas.

JJ’s last year’s tweet about his newly discovered love for Formula 1, spurred on by Netflix’s hit hit ‘Drive to Survive’, caught the padock’s attention and led to a response and call from Mercedes world champion.

The Austin U.S. Grand Prix is ​​held in October, in the middle of the NFL season, but Miami’s first race in May is perfect for the pair. For their first race, the big brothers chose a team located at the far end of the paddock, Haas. JJ and TJ are both big fans of the lovely team leader, the likeable Guenther Steiner, who is one of the stars of the series.

“He was great. Everyone was great,” JJ told ESPN. “How can you not be a Guenther fan? He’s just a great guy. It’s a sign of a great person when I can just sit down and shoot with — with them, so that was great.”

The Watt brothers’ journey to the first race in Miami, organized on the track around Hard Rock Stadium, began with an optimistic DM from Haas, communications chief Stuart Morrison, and developed into a full conversation about F1, the team and, finally, the call for both to attend as guests of the team.

On Friday, the couple participated in boxing training, toured the garage and met Steiner and team drivers Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher.

TJ joked that the couple asked pretty basic questions to Haas ’pit crew during the tour.

“We definitely didn’t pick their brains with the non-depth issues we had. They were pretty thorough,” TJ said. “But they didn’t laugh at us! They just answered them and they showed us great how everything works.

“It’s crazy, the complexity, the scale of the whole operation,” JJ added. “The apartments in the box are so impressive. So many things have to go right, and just one little thing has to go wrong.”

In JJ’s Twitter interaction with Mercedes last year, he joked that their loyalty could be bought, but now they are both dedicated Haas fans.

They brought us together, TJ said. “We’re Haas guys to the end.”

In a separate interview with Sirius XM, Watt spoke about all the drivers in F1 – including the seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and current champion Max Verstappen – he was most excited to meet Magnussen, who surprisingly returned to the sport this year.

“Mine was legitimately Kevin Magnussen,” JJ said. “I thought it was nasty how he came back after he just wasn’t in Formula One, and then he landed in Bahrain and came out and broke it.”

ESPN told Magnussen about Watt’s comments on Friday, after he had just finished two hours of training on a slippery and challenging track in Miami, and asked him what it was like to meet the Arizona Cardinals lineup.

“It was scary!” he replied laughing. “The scariest thing this weekend so far. It’s huge. Great respect for those guys, the training they do. It’s phenomenal.”

While in the race, JJ will also oversee the fantastic F1 league he created to play with his brothers, teammates and some high school friends, run in the traditional pen and paper style without the help of a website.

“I just came up with that,” JJ told ESPN. “We were trying to find an honest way for someone not to just pick the top five guys every week. It turned out pretty well.

“Before the first free practice, we all choose four drivers in the snake design. After the qualifiers add up the places of their drivers, the guy with the lowest number chooses the first one for the real race.

“We choose in segments. From one to five, six to ten. You can pick one guy from each segment and then take your total for the whole weekend.”

“You never know, someone might crash. When George Russell finished second because of the rain, you would never have thought it would happen.

“It’s pretty cool. It’s an explosion.”

Asked who is currently winning their league, TJ joked that it was “probably” JJ, but “only”.

During his radio interview with Sirius XM that preceded the ESPN interview, the ultra-competitive Watt brothers said stewards might have to look at the footage to decide which one was faster when changing the steering wheel.

JJ then joked “until Michael Masi!”

The brothers are still trying to digest how Hamilton lost last year’s championship. Former race director Masi mistakenly restarted the race after a delayed safety car, helping Verstappen dramatically overtake him in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Asked by ESPN what he had done about the controversial 2021 title decision, which cost Masi the job, JJ said: “It must have been incredibly difficult for Lewis. As an athlete, the first thing you want is for the playing field to be honest and competitive and that he could handle this fairly on the ground.

“So when you take something out of your hands and you can’t solve it on the field … the way he solved it was absolutely impressive, not to mention a billion things that were probably going through his head that he wanted to say was pretty incredibly.

“Honestly, I didn’t mind who won. I thought it was amazing that after all those races it came down to one race and it literally came down to the winner. I just wanted to see fair.”

TJ, who said the driver he wanted to meet the most was Hamilton, said, “It was cool to see Lewis just find him during the season, it was like ‘holy cow, is this really going to happen?’ It was the end of a storybook type, so in order not to end it, quote and cancel quotes correctly, it was a little disappointing. I realize you want it to end with a race lap. But you want to solve that with a real race lap. “

JJ then added his surprise that Mercedes did not do everything in its power to undo the result.

“If you really think about it from a business perspective, there are millions and millions of dollars at stake, the eighth World Cup … I don’t know. A lot has affected it and I’m honestly surprised it hasn’t been raised to higher levels.

“It’s crazy. How much money is involved in this sport? Crazy.”

The Watts will be online before the race with Haas, and their loyalty to the only American F1 team has been ensured.

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