The Miami Grand Prix was the biggest test so far to gauge the strength of Formula 1’s latest onslaught in America. As one of the most anticipated races of recent seasons, the GP at the ‘Sunshine State’ examined the legitimacy of claims that F1 is really taking off in the United States.
The race – the first in Florida since 1959 – was held last Sunday, May 8, 2022, in a new layout at the Miami Gardens complex, with Hard Rock Stadium at the heart of the track, which was designed to encourage closed races and meet the highest safety standards.
While the media will only consider first-hand reports to gauge the Miami experience, the result of this test should be obvious enough to truly assert that motorsport has never been more popular in the world’s largest consumer market. The Formula 1 community and the sport’s fan base could see that the GP was the center of the sporting world for an afternoon.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing RBPT) won the inaugural Miami GP over Charles Leclerc, having snatched the lead from Ferrari’s pole position early in the race and defended it in a thrilling battle towards the end. Third place was also painted in the colors of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari; and the fourth with Sergio Perez’s Red Bull. The English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was in sixth place, behind his teammate George Russell (5th place).
A guest list, which could be defined as today’s sporting royalty, attracted the attention of spectators, giving GP Miami a distinct Monaco feel with new specs.
Stars such as the Williams sisters, Michael Jordan, David Beckham, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, just to name a few, circled the Miami International Speedway.
Photos of Lewis Hamilton, Michael Jordan, David Beckham and Tom Brady posing together in front of the Mercedes garage were shared on social media, sending fans into a frenzy.
And it didn’t even take a sportsman to be drawn to the allure of F1 – the grand spectacle was attended by music heavyweights such as Pharrell Williams, Shawn Mendes, DJ Khaled, Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, among others.
Expansion of F1 events in the United States
When Liberty Media closed its acquisition of Formula 1 in 2016, a planned expansion of GPs in the United States was well underway. Prior to the takeover, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was publicly discussing negotiations to schedule a race in Las Vegas, Nevada. And Formula 1 had long sought to expand a series of successful races in Austin, Texas, site of its only event in the country so far.
Chase Carey, who took charge of Formula 1 after the takeover, revealed in 2017 that he intended to create new racing circuits in areas that could attract tourists from around the world. As a tropical tourist hotspot with a penchant for spectacle entertainment and a history of high-profile sporting events, even amid controversy, South Florida evidently fits the bill.
After much negotiation, Formula 1 dropped plans to hold a race in the streets of downtown Miami and shifted focus to the Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, a venue with a history of hosting Super Bowls, music shows with great audience and countless other high-profile events.
The organizers even made it a priority to reduce the impact of the Grand Prix at Miami Gardens, with the construction of a sound wall, also ensuring that races do not take place during school hours and eliminating any track element on public roads.
Thus, the Miami GP was a resounding success for Formula 1 in the United States, as the brand’s popularity is growing rapidly in the country. In March, the sport announced that a race in Las Vegas would be added to the calendar in 2023 – making it the first year since the early 1980s that the United States will have three Grands Prix held in a single season.
Next Grand Prix 2022
The Formula 1 World Championship continues in Catalunya, with the Spanish Grand Prix scheduled for May 20-22. Red Bull is now just six points behind Ferrari – and Verstappen 19 points behind Leclerc.
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