• Chris Kato

Did Formula 1's Debut in Miami Live Up to Expectations??

F1's debut in the 305 was met with massive amounts of hype... but did it live up to it in the end?

Courtesy - Red Bull Content Pool



Florida waited 63 years to host another Formula 1 race and after a long week of hype, promotion, and anticipation, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix is finally in the books. Max Verstappen claimed the first ever Miami GP victory after keeping Charles Leclerc at bay in a hot and demanding Grand Prix on Sunday. Now that the confetti has fallen and the champagne has stopped flowing, we're going to analyze whether the debut of Miami on the F1 calendar actually lived up to the hype or if it fell short of its lofty expectations. We'll take into account the racing circuit itself, the fan atmosphere, and the quality of racing as we render our verdict at the end of this article.


The Miami Autodrome Circuit

Courtesy - RACEFANS.net



You can always judge the qualify of a circuit by the comments and reactions from the drivers. Well after three days of running around the Miami Autodrome, the reception has been mixed with clear messages from the drivers that Miami needs some improvements. The drivers' biggest concerns were regarding the track surface as small stones were being lifted from the surface and scattered away from the racing line. This brought strong words from drivers post qualifying with Sergio Perez calling the track surface a joke, Lewis Hamilton wondering how in 2022 they can't make a smooth track surface, and Fernando Alonso making it clear to the FIA that they expect resurfacing for the race in 2023. The track surface wasn't the only bump in the road for the debut of the Miami Autodrome. Drivers heavily criticized the safety standards at the Turn 14 barrier that saw Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon have big crashes. Both drivers were quite sore following their accidents and they were not happy about the FIA not making any safety changes to the corner. And the biggest headache of all that this new circuit gave everyone was the slow speed chicanes in Sector 3. These corners were universally disliked by the drivers with Daniel Ricciardo calling it "too Mickey Mouse", Pierre Gasly saying he was not a fan of the "Formula E chicane" and many drivers throughout the weekend having difficulties through turns 14 and 15. Besides these negatives, the overall opinion of the Miami Autodrome was a positive one from a drivers perspective. They really seemed to enjoy the unique characteristics of Miami and the challenges it offered. The high speed sections made it a thrill to drive and the Florida climate made sure to test F1's best both physically and mentally.




The Miami GP Atmosphere

Courtesy - Red Bull Content Pool



If you were to rate the Miami Grand Prix based on the off-track experience, you say it was by the far the biggest event of 2022 by far. It was basically a Super Bowl like atmosphere in Miami as the promotion and public relations events were off the charts. In typical American fashion, it was go big or go home for the first ever Miami Grand Prix and they pulled out all the stops to attract the American elitists to the 305 to give them a taste of Formula 1. At times, some of the off track events and celebrity pandering was quite distasteful and frankly not what F1 should be about. And how could we talk about the Miami GP atmosphere without mentioning the fake Marina with fake water and real yachts? Unfortunately the prices weren't fake however as the "Yacht Club" starting price tickets were $9,500 and went up to $38,000 for a four person pass!


Anytime a new city hosts F1 for the first time, there will be hiccups. You had congested pedestrian bridges, long walks from point to point under the hot Florida sun, and traffic issues surrounding the stadium. If you're watching this video and you attended the Grand Prix, please let us know your experiences first hand in the comment section below! But the fan atmosphere on race day was pretty decent as the stands were packed and fans on their feet for all the action. It was certainly a sign that F1 has broken into the American market but the Miami Grand Prix seems like it will be an acquired taste that many will have to get used too whether they like it or not.




What About The Racing?

Courtesy - Red Bull Content Pool



Lost in the Miami festivities, it's easy to forget why F1 was actually in Miami Gardens, and that was to put on a motor race. So as F1 racing fans, did the Miami Autodrome actually provide us with good racing? The short answer to that would be, not really. The race had some overtaking but was limited as expected heading into this narrow and tricky circuit. The issues mentioned a few minutes ago about the track led to some drivers making mistakes and tripping over each other in the Grand Prix. Had the safety car not come out following Norris and Gasly's incident, the race would've been fairly flat and boring from lights to flag. Miami might've gone a little too far with the hype and then under delivered in terms of actual racing. It was interesting enough to make us look forward to the race next year and it also serves as a good learning experience for Las Vegas in 2023. Hopefully they can take the feedback from the drivers and make some necessary changes that can make the racing more exciting for fans and drivers. At the end of the day, Liberty Media have to remember this is the Formula 1 World Championship and that racing should be the top priority when we go to new venues and not the 'celebrity experience.' We have to give Miami a chance like we did many other new venues but the 2022 Miami Grand Prix weekend was certainly a memorable one for various different reasons.






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