Enthusiasm for F1 within the Japanese automaker therefore remains high and it continues to tout its relationships with Red Bull and Alpha Tauri. That’s why he invited us to attend the Miami F1 GP as one of his guests, and with the race now over, it’s time to hand in our marks for an event the sport and its fans have been waiting for. impatiently.
It’s unfair to credit or blame race organizers for the weather, but speaking of “hot”, the 2022 Miami F1 Grand Prix was scorching. The ambient temperature hovered in the low to mid-90s all weekend, with the humidity index exceeding 50%. A brief, light rain shower an hour before the start of the race teased participants with potential relief, but more precipitation never arrived.
On the other hand, a torrential downpour is also not ideal for comfort. We would have liked to see a lot more misters and blown air fans on the pitch to keep spectators cool, and we’ve heard reports of a lack of water in some toilets and water points. From what we’ve seen overall, though, there doesn’t seem to be a widespread challenge when it comes to securing lots of cold drinks.
Hard Rock Stadium and Miami International Autodrome
Talk about an impressive site to see, especially for the first outing of the F1 Miami GP.
Built on the grounds of the Miami Dolphin’s Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami International Autodrome complex delivered an almost entirely temporary site that looked very much like a permanent racing facility. Much of it is normally used as parking, but you’d never know that if you hadn’t noticed the parking lines painted on some of the asphalt you walked on as you explored the terrain. It was an example of how modern racing promoters, architects and engineers can create an FIA Grade 1 racing circuit virtually from scratch. It was a middle finger in history and the infamous Caesar’s Palace car park Grand Prix held in Las Vegas in the early 80s, widely regarded as one of the most abysmal F1 circuits in all the time.
There were 11 separate grandstands and the number of team and sponsor supported hospitality areas (accessible if you got your hands on the proper tickets) was staggering. The latter, however, are prohibitively expensive for average and even above-average people, with costs per ticket running into the thousands. Even “regular” grandstand tickets were expensive, with the cheapest costing $640. Pro tip: “Campus Pass” general admission tickets — $300 for Friday practice and up to $500 for the race, or $1,200 for all three days — might be some of the best tickets to general admission to all professional sports. There are many open and accessible vantage points around the circuit from which we would have been very happy to watch the whole race. Views from the spiraling pedestrian ramps at Hard Rock Stadium were excellent.
Our biggest complaint about the overall experience is that the Miami Autodrome staff, while universally and exceptionally courteous and friendly, simply hadn’t received enough training prior to the event on the location of the various locations in the facility, and the maps displayed around the terrain were sometimes only useful up to a point.
At an event like this, you’d just like to ask someone wearing a staff shirt how you can best reach your destination, but too often we’ve been answered with questioning looks and “Hmmm, I don’t am not sure.” In a moment of unintended comedy on Friday, it took us 45 minutes to circle around and ask at least half a dozen employees, “Where’s the media center?” before finding one who knew where the correct entrance to the paddock was.
call it him Drive to survive effect, complemented by the fact that F1 is in the midst of its most competitive and engaging era in decades: the crowd of around 85,000 at the Miami GP was as excited and enthusiastic as any crowd we have ever seen in a car race. If any doubts remained about F1’s popularity – and virtually overnight – in the US, they disintegrated and more.
This mass of humanity applauded and roars for the smallest of reasons, from cars just rolling out of the pit lane to drivers crossing on Friday and Saturday practice. A car that dives into the pits? Roar. The same car coming out of its pit after a routine stop? Roar. A driver who slightly applies his brakes in a bend? Roar. Red Bull’s Mexican driver and local favorite Sergio “Checo” Perez gains some time over Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in the final laps of the race? Roarcombined with chants of “Olé, Olé, Olé, Checo, Checo!”
It was obvious that many fans are new to the sport and still have a long way to go before they understand the darker and somewhat complex nuances of F1. But if that level of enthusiasm for GP racing and the corresponding willingness to shell out big bucks for the privilege of attending existed in this country back when Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the United States Grand Prix , the Brickyard would not have lost its place on the F1 Calendar after the 2007 race.
Meanwhile, in terms of celebrity spotting, sports and pop culture fans have been wowed by a massive list including names like Michael Jordan (who earlier in the week had dinner with impressed Alpha Tauri pilot Pierre Gasly, leaving Gasly’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda to jokingly lament that he wasn’t invited), Tom Brady, Dwayne Wade and his wife Gabrielle Union, Serena and Venus Williams, David Beckham, Tommy Hilfiger, George Lucas, Bad Bunny, Karlie Kloss, Michael Strahan, Ashton Kutcher, and more.
The track and the race
Heading into the weekend, the 3.36-mile, 19-turn circuit was expected to have the potential to deliver an exciting race. But the 2022 Miami F1 Grand Prix was a mixed bag.
After the first practice sessions, several drivers complained about a lack of off-line grip, in particular McLaren’s Lando Norris and Perez, the latter saying he felt the surface was wet when he got on. ventured off the ideal racing line where the cars had deposited rubber. Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver George Russell called the track “garbage” in places in comments ahead of Sunday’s race. Norris and seven-time Mercedes champion Lewis Hamilton have also complained of unexpected bumps, exacerbated by the “porpoising” effect inherent in this year’s F1 cars. As a result, they predicted that the situation would be bad for pilots running and passing each other, despite having three DRS zones.
The 57-lap race started with Leclerc’s Ferrari on pole ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz in second and Verstappen in third. But Verstappen rounded Sainz on the outside of Turn 1 (so much for zero grip), and during the early stages it looked like it might stay that way for quite a while. Instead, Verstappen chased the leading Ferrari, passing Leclerc on lap nine. There were a few more overtakes and a few knocks in midfield, but overall and as one F1 insider texted us halfway through the race, “It’s a snoozefest.”
That all changed on lap 40, when a collision between Gasly and Norris tore Norris’ McLaren apart and ripped off one of its tyres, knocking out the safety car. The race resumed with 10 laps to go, Verstappen moving ahead of Leclerc, Sainz and Perez, with the second-placed Red Bull now retaining the fresh tire advantage after a pit stop. The Mexican at one point used his Honda power to race the Ferrari, pulling his car on the inside into Turn 1, but he locked up his right front tire and ran wide, ending his challenge .
For a few more laps Leclerc stayed in Verstappen’s DRS range, threatening that a potential attack could occur and giving the final laps some tension. In the end, however, he backed off, giving Verstappen his third victory and his second in a row in a young season that still has 18 races to go. Thanks to scoring an extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race, Verstappen reduced his gap to Leclerc to 19 points, 104-85. If it hadn’t been for the safety car period , however, the race seemed likely to deliver little drama for much of its remoteness.
The 2022 Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix was an absolute success overall: off track, on track and, key to its long-term prospects, financially. The handful of things that need improvement should be relatively easy fixes for an organizational leadership team that has plenty of experience when it comes to curating high-profile shows and creating positive fan experiences. Improving the track somewhat might prove more difficult, but the race was certainly not eviland some drivers felt that the tedious chicane that includes turns 14 and 15 should perhaps be removed to potentially improve the show.
We agree with this suggestion. But no matter if it happens and after tasting the Miami GP, we are already looking forward to returning for the 2023 edition.