The first-ever Miami Grand Prix took place just nine days ago and boy, did the organizers do their best to make sure it was an event we never forget. It was being called the Super Bowl of the Formula 1 season. A lot was going on. It really was a spectacle.
You know how TV shows have outlier episodes for Halloween or Christmas specials? That’s what the Miami Grand Prix felt like.
I’ve read that due to wanting to make the weekend as great as possible, costs far exceeded revenue.
Hey, that’s Vegas, baby.
Wait, the Vegas Grand Prix is next year.
1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull
2. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari
3. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari
4. Sergio Perez – Red Bull
5. George Russell – Mercedes
6. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes
7. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo
8. Esteban Ocon – Alpine
9. Alex Albon – Williams
10. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin
11. Fernando Alonso – Alpine
12. Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri
13. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren
14. Nicholas Latifi – Williams
15. Mick Schumacher – Haas
16. Kevin Magnussen – Haas (DNF)
17. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin (DNF)
18. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri (DNF)
19. Lando Norris – McLaren (DNF)
20. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo (DNF)
1. F1 Needs to be Careful
No one is happier than I am that Formula 1 has reached a larger audience, thanks to the Netflix series. With new fans coming in, there is going to be a prolonged honeymoon phase. Oh, it’s a race weekend? Let’s watch!
And that’s all fine and dandy, and exactly what should happen.
Now, lean in close as I say this…
However, some F1 races can be, for the lack of a better word, boring. The main reason being, no one can pass anyone because the track doesn’t offer many opportunities for overtaking. So, what happens is, as a viewer, we start begging for rain, or a crash, to bring out the safety car and bunch everyone up.
We are hoping for manufactured entertainment because the track isn’t providing it.
The Miami Grand Prix was a giant party, right? That was amazing. Most of the race was not, at least for me. A safety car near the end salvaged it, but until then, it was just another race with cars following each other. Sure, Verstappen passed Leclerc for first place and that was cool, but there wasn’t much else going on.
I think F1 needs to be careful because they have a glut of new fans right now and the goal should be to continue bringing them up the frequency escalator and hopefully turn them into lifelong fans.
My fear is that new fans may catch on that some races just aren’t going to provide the drama they’re looking for, and therefore, they’ll start losing interest.
I don’t think that day is coming any time soon, but get back to me in two to three years when the honeymoon is over.
Because the fans who were here before the boom, probably got into the sport when races were truly competitive. Now, we’ve stayed because we were hooked. I hope the new fans, who came on because of how dramatic F1 is, will stick it out through some of the dull races.
In an ideal world, if F1 is going to keep going to new destinations that require a new circuit, then they should design a track that would maximize overtaking and competition. Miami didn’t really necessitate that.
I just want someone to build the ideal race track where you can pass just about anywhere.
Miami did provide a great atmosphere, though.
And maybe that’s what F1 is happy with doing right now. Sell the lifestyle and luxury; the pomp and circumstance. If fans are happy with the experience and can look past the races where not much happens, that’s great.
Just be careful.
2. Danica is Great
In Canada, we get the Sky Sports feed for F1 coverage. At last year’s United States Grand Prix, they added former racing driver, Danica Patrick, to the broadcast team.
They brought her back for the Miami Grand Prix and I thought she was great – a breath of fresh air. I enjoy the commentators that Sky Sports has, but it was nice to get an outsider’s perspective.
“Outsider” in the sense that Danica isn’t walking up and down the F1 pit lane/paddock every weekend, like the others.
3. Andretti in 2024?
I believe it was during Free Practice 2 (it was during a practice session) that American racing legend, and 1978 F1 World Champion, Mario Andretti, joined the broadcast and said he hopes to have an Andretti team on the F1 grid in 2024.
Now, in real life terms, 2024 is two years away. In F1 terms, it’s basically next month. So if this is going to happen, it needs to happen yesterday.
Andretti is a big name and would add a second American team to the grid. The other being Haas.
From what I understand, Andretti needs unanimous approval from all 10 teams in order to gain entry into F1. He has received public backing from McLaren and Alpine. That’s it. Other teams are blocking his entry, Mercedes being one of them.
Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, wants Andretti to demonstrate what his team can bring to the table, other than the $200 million entry fee.
It’s all about money because of course it is. If an 11th team enters F1, then the pot gets diluted and the other 10 teams are making less. I get that.
However, wouldn’t it be worth it to have another team on the grid? Especially an American team with a built-in reputation and legacy? From the sounds of it, they would like to have an American driver in one of their cars. Wouldn’t that open up the American market even further?
To me, a new team and two extra drivers means more sponsors get behind F1. It means even more exposure.
Why have 20 lemonade stands around town, when you can have 22? You could make more than it costs, if you’re smart about it.
I don’t know. I’m not in the boardroom. I’m not pressing numbers on a calculator.
I think teams are also a bit put-off by the fact that Andretti is so open about wanting to join F1. In reality, that’s just the North American way. Generate buzz, get people talking, and use the momentum to push the door open.
Whereas in the F1 universe, it feels like everyone wants everything to be a secret. Which is ironic, considering as soon as they dropped the curtain and did the Netflix series, the sport took off.
Give me more teams and more drivers on the grid. That is all.
4. Martin Brundle’s Grid Walk
Martin Brundle is a treasure, isn’t he? Before each race, he gets to walk up and down the grid, interviewing whichever celebrity, driver, or team official he can coerce into a chat.
Last year, at the United States Grand Prix, he tried to interview Megan Thee Stallion, who was quite receptive to him, but her body guard pushed him away. Brundle had some quip for him. It was great. He was also snubbed by Serena Williams, twice.
And being back in the US, the hi-jinx were turned up to a 12 once again.
The second-hand awkwardness was palpable as he squeezed his way through the mob of people. And wouldn’t you know it, he found Serena’s sister, Venus.
Brundle asked her what she thought of the event, she started to respond, but then she said “hey” to someone walking by and stopped answering his question…because she forgot he was there? He kept walking with her, both of them in silence for a few hilarious seconds, before she re-acknowledged his presence by asking, “Oh, what’s the question?”
He said, “It doesn’t really matter.”
I was laughing.
Brundle also ran into DJ Khaled, who said exactly what you’d expect him to say.
And then Brundle chased down Patrick Mahomes (who seemed to be ignoring him), except it wasn’t Patrick Mahomes at all. It was Duke basketball player, and probable Top 5 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Paulo Banchero. The chat ended with Brundle asking Paulo his name, and realizing that was why “Patrick” wasn’t turning around when he called him earlier.
Gold. All of it.
5. Very Miami
You know those theme days they’d have at summer camp like: Pyjama Day, Disney Day, or Jersey Day? Well, this was Miami Day.
If you had no idea what Miami was about before this Grand Prix, now you know. I thought they did a phenomenal job of showcasing their city, while it was in the spotlight. I think a few other F1 destinations could copy the Miami playbook and lean into who they are just a little bit more.
There was a fake marina along the side of the track, with boats parked in “the water”. There were mermaids by a pool. The drivers wore football helmets on the podium, instead of the traditional caps.
Oh, there was also a police escort just to get the drivers to the podium. I’m not sure what that was about, since I’m pretty sure security is at an all-time high at F1 races, and only credentialed personnel are allowed in certain areas.
BUT, if you want to have a police escort, by all means have a police escort.
Honestly, I remember about two things from the actual race, but the scenes around the track are locked in my memory vault.
So, kudos to them for pulling that off.
The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix this Sunday, May 22 from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
What did you think of the Miami Grand Prix? Thoughts on my takeaways?