Nothing like this has ever happened before in Formula 1: At the 2023 Japan Grand Prix in Suzuka, the top three drivers in the race will be handed interactive trophies
Fernando Alonso takes the trophy, kisses it and holds it aloft. This is already familiar in Formula 1, but what’s new at the 2023 Japan Grand Prix is that the drivers have to kiss their trophies at the presentation ceremony in Suzuka in order to “unlock” a feature
Making it possible is Grand Prix title sponsor Lenovo in collaboration with Pininfarina America. “As a leading technology company, we set ourselves the challenge of incorporating smart technology into the trophies in ways never before seen,” said Philip Marchington as Lenovo’s Marketing Director. “In doing so, we want to add value to the award ceremony.”
And in practical terms, it works like this: immediately after the finish, the trophies for the three podium finishers are programmed with the corresponding nationalities. Then interaction is called for: special lights on the outer skin of the cups point out the “kiss me” area to the drivers. If the kiss is in the right place, the trophies light up in the respective national colours.
Paolo Trevisan, head of design at Pininfarina America, calls this an “innovative trophy” and speaks of an “honour” for his company “to be able to contribute to Formula 1 history with this trophy”. And because Lenovo is also sponsoring the USA Grand Prix in Austin, the top 3 there will also be presented with “kiss-me” trophies.
The trophies are modelled on the airbox of a Formula 1 car, i.e. the air intake above the driver’s helmet. And the company that made them also has a connection to Formula 1: founder Battista Farina was the uncle of the first world champion Giuseppe Farina.
The originally Italian company is now majority-owned by the Indian Mahindra Group and operates worldwide as a design studio and vehicle tuner, among other things.