F1 Grid Walk of Shame: Machine Gun Kelly latest addition to celebrity sh*tlist

Editor
Machine Gun Kelly on the F1 grid with Red Bull.

Machine Gun Kelly on the F1 grid with Red Bull.

Martin Brundle’s F1 grid walk is a staple of pre-race viewing on English-speaking TV, but it hasn’t always gone perfectly over the years.

Brundle himself admitted he’s not the biggest fan of doing the grid walk, given the hustle and bustle of the grid itself and the pressure of finding people to speak to on live TV.

Celebrities have always appeared on the F1 grid, but that’s been taken to another level in recent years, along with the rise in the sport’s popularity – leading to an unwelcome rise in awkward moments that have gone viral. So with that in mind, here’s a list of celebrities to have fallen foul of F1 social media over time.

Machine Gun Kelly

The most recent of the awkward grid walk exchanges, rapper Machine Gun Kelly was on the grid as a guest of Red Bull in Brazil in 2023, and his non-answers after long pauses following Brundle’s questions came after saying he couldn’t hear him.

After a painful end to the interview where MGK tried to get Brundle to play air guitar, he gave a big thumbs down as he walked off – claiming later he was ‘forced’ into the ‘random’ interview.

He later added: “My anxiety has won. I hate being in public.”

It transpired he didn’t stay until the end of the race, either.

Cara Delevingne

In trying to approach actress and model Cara Delevingne on the grid at Silverstone in 2023, she shook her head with “no” when asked for an interview by Brundle, and he explained that “the deal is that everybody has to talk on the grid”, in reference to a reported rule to make celebrities available for interview if they are guests on the grid, before she then added: “I can’t hear anything.”

When she walked away, Brundle sarcastically said: “Well, I’m sure it would have been extremely interesting…”

Delevingne later said an “F1 representative” told her to decline the interview on the grid, replying to a social media user in responding to the moment and writing: “I was told to say no so I did. Thank you for seeing both sides.

“Anyway, I had so much fun today and was so happy to be there no matter what anyone else may think.”

She was a guest of Alfa Romeo, who also backed her refusal to talk by responding to a user who claimed she was rude to Brundle by replying: “Respect goes both ways: nobody should be placed in an uncomfortable situation or forced to do things against their will.”

Pep Guardiola

Brundle found Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola when he was not in the best mood, it’s fair to say, in Abu Dhabi in 2022.

In explaining that he had already spoken to Sky, apparently, he was in no mood to do so again, nor was he in the space to talk about football either.

Here’s their exchange in full:

MB: “Pep, Martin Brundle, Sky F1.”
PG: “I spoke already with Sky.”
MB: “Did you?”
PG: “I spoke twice with Sky.”
MB: “Okay, well three times lucky then.”
PG: “Yeah, good, I’m lucky.”
MB: “Second in the championship for Man City and you’ve got six weeks holiday now.”
PG: “No talk about football today, come on. No talk about football today.”
MB: “Let’s talk about F1 then, tell me about F1.”

And then Guardiola just walked off, with Brundle asked to move by a security guard, quipping: “It’s alright, I’ve been thrown out of better places than this.”

And talking of security…

Megan Thee Stallion’s bodyguard

We’ll make it clear now, we’re not putting Megan Thee Stallion in there, as she humoured Brundle in at least *sort of* answering his question on the grid in Austin in 2021, but her bodyguard/security person? Absolutely.

In approaching the American rapper on the grid and answering a light-hearted question as to whether she had some kind of F1-themed rap (putting her slightly on the spot, in fairness), she didn’t have one, but one of her minders then decided to cut right across the Sky analyst and said the now-infamous line: “You can’t do that.”

Brundle’s reply went viral, however: “I can, because I just did.”

But while we’re on the subject of Martin not even being allowed near a celebrity…

Mariah Carey

All Martin wanted in Baku in 2017 was an interview with the pop superstar, and he even admitted he had a “snowball in hell’s chance” of chatting with her.

In getting within her vicinity and trying to ask for a word, a swift “no” was sent back in his direction as she was whisked away elsewhere.

He took a pragmatic view, however, saying: “It’s not going to spoil my life, I don’t suppose it’ll spoil your [the viewer’s] life, I would like to have had a quick chat with her because I’ve never met her and I do love her music.”

There’s still time for that to change, as there’s been a turnaround before, and on that note…

The Williams sisters

Tennis legend Venus Williams incurred the wrath of F1 social media when she brushed off Brundle’s requests for a chat at Austin in 2016, seemingly not even acknowledging his existence when he was asking her a couple of questions on the grid in Texas.

Sister Serena, also one of the greatest tennis players ever, was on the grid in Austin during the same walk as the infamous ‘I can, because I just did’ moment with Megan Thee Stallion’s bodyguard.

Brundle tried to accost the 23-time Grand Slam singles winner after she finished a conversation on the grid, and after awkwardly gesturing that she wasn’t keen to chat, instead of serving a conversational ace, the former McLaren and Benetton driver admitted: “It’s a double fault, it’s a double fault.”

Brundle did run into Venus and Serena again as they walked on the grid together in Miami in 2022, and he geared himself up for another attempt at chatting by saying: “I don’t know if I can stand the rejection here, but I’ll do this for you…”

He got a question into Venus, and after a painfully long silence, she responded after seemingly not hearing him with a generic answer about the race before adding: “What was the question?”

Brundle responded with a smile and a laugh: “It doesn’t really matter, nice to talk to you actually but we’ll move back down.”

That’s gone at least some way to repairing the scars from Austin, but speaking of someone who has gone out of his way to build bridges…

PlanetF1.com recommends

Five big rule changes the FIA has made to reel in dominant F1 teams

Six insanely luxurious mansions and estates owned by Formula 1 drivers

Dishonourable mention: Brad Pitt

Someone who was on the list but soon moved himself off it is the star of the upcoming F1 blockbuster, Brad Pitt.

Brundle tried to flag down the Hollywood star for a grid interview in Austin in 2022, but was firmly brushed aside with some body pats and some far-from-uncertain rejection for his questions as he made his way up the grid while Brundle tried to ask about the film, based on a fictional 11th team starring Pitt as a driver coming out of retirement.

Naturally, there was quite a lot of reaction to this online, not least Pitt seemingly not knowing about Brundle’s status as a key voice of the sport and former driver rather than simply an annoying reporter to be moved out of the way.

The redemption came a few days later, when Brundle tweeted: “Got a note from Brad Pitt explaining what happened with our near miss on the Austin grid. Unnecessary, but nice of him. Absolutely nobody is obliged to talk to me on the grid, but as I endeavour to make 10/12 minutes of live and unscripted sports TV I’m obliged to at least ask.”

Following that, Pitt has since had a feature interview with Sky, where he offered Brundle a cameo role in the F1 film. We wonder if he’ll take him up on that offer…

Read next: How different would a 2023 Sprint Championship have been to usual standings?