The standout performer of the Miami Grand Prix for me wasn’t Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc or Esteban Ocon – though they had been all fairly mega. It was Martin Brundle, whose TV grid stroll for Sky Sports activities F1 got here as shut as attainable to creating some sense of the madness of this bonkers, celeb-packed new occasion on the Formulation 1 schedule.
As he bounced between the likes of the Williams tennis sisters, Pharrell Williams and (not) Patrick Mahomes (who turned out to be Duke basketball’s potential NBA star Paolo Banchero), it was an unimaginable piece of entertaining tv. Brundle’s air of delicate bemusement by the entire spectacle actually made it really feel such as you had been alongside for the weird journey the place you hadn’t a clue what would occur subsequent.
This might solely occur right here. I’ve lived in Miami for over seven years now, so it was no shock to me after I heard in regards to the pretend marina, the cable vehicles over the observe or the Exhausting Rock Seashore Membership (full with basking pretend mermaids) – the place they paved a parking zone and put up a paradise.
It was so very Miami, a automotive chase that was solely lacking Don Johnson in his Ferrari Daytona (and bear in mind, was pretend too).
PLUS: How imperfect Miami supplied F1’s drivers a singular problem
For all of the gripes, although, in regards to the ‘Americanization’ of F1, the one factor that wasn’t touched was the sporting spectacle. No makes an attempt had been made to jazz-up that facet of issues, no timeouts or dancers on the observe in the course of the safety-car interval. Certain, there have been world-class DJs in the home, spinning their tunes between classes, however just about every thing in these elements occurs with a thumping backbeat anyhow.
The unreal marina created on the circuit triggered a buzz on social media
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Pictures
And so what if Pirelli gave the rostrum finishers soccer helmets to put on as an alternative of caps at an NFL stadium? They did Stetsons at COTA, Ushankas in Sochi and Sombreros in Mexico Metropolis.
For anybody current on the Exhausting Rock Stadium, getting the prospect to be in the identical zip code as Michelle Obama, Michael Jordan and Tom Brady made your day earlier than a wheel had turned. For the remainder of the world, the jealousy was palpable throughout social media – whether or not you knew who these celebrities and influencers flouncing round had been or not.
When you had been on website, chances are high you’d paid a fairly penny for the privilege. SeatGeek revealed the occasion’s raceday tickets had a median resale worth of $2414. By comparability, Austin’s COTA tickets are reselling at simply over $1k, whereas NASCAR’s Daytona 500 was $311 and the upcoming Indy 500 is $361. A buddy of mine purchased six tickets, then offered 4 – two of which lined the seats he used himself. Then he made a $3k revenue on the opposite pair!
With out wishing to brag, I wangled myself into the Paddock Membership East – which supplied a sensational view of the Flip 1 braking zone that I’d noticed as an ideal vantage spot from my earlier visits to the venue whereas it was being constructed.
One of many many issues TV missed on the weekend was Flip 1, lap one in every of free apply one: Nearly each driver outbraked himself and went off! The group cherished it as mistake after mistake unfolded, and even when the drivers obtained their head across the braking level – which was clearly sooner than their sims had led them to imagine – Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda had wild spins.
I used to be within the VIP seats due to F1’s bubbly provider Ferrari Trento, which revealed that fifty,000 bottles of its tremendous fizzy wine had been loved by the 200,000 followers on the observe and within the Miami-Dade area over race weekend. And the thoughts boggles on the merchandise gross sales that should’ve taken place – Pink Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari caps appear to be the must-wear merchandise on South Seashore’s Lincoln Highway proper now.
A affluent and in style F1 is an efficient F1 in my thoughts, particularly in a promote it had struggled to really crack for therefore lengthy.
Followers watch below the Exhausting Rock Stadium cowl
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Pictures
However, in case you’re feeling ‘properly jel’ in regards to the stacks of VIPs flashing their money, you possibly can have the final giggle, as a significant hospitality fail meant that there was a scarcity of meals on provide on Friday. There’s one thing additional offended about wealthy folks being denied issues – particularly with the premium worth they’d paid for the luxurious seats. You didn’t get to learn a lot about it although, because the meals provide within the media centre was plentiful!
An enormous plus level for me throughout the weekend was the variety of ladies who attended the race. It was as near a 50/50 cut up as I’ve ever seen at a racetrack, and so they weren’t being hauled round by husbands or boyfriends – in lots of instances it appeared the opposite means round.
The feminine contingent throughout the Miami Campus appeared fully engaged with the occasion. It explains a few of the uplift we’ve seen within the newest F1 International Fan Survey; that Drive to Survive influence has been massively optimistic for feminine curiosity within the sequence, not simply the US viewers on the whole.
As regards to tv, dwell protection on the ABC community produced an viewers of two.6million – F1’s biggest-ever quantity in US historical past (earlier document was 1.7m for Brazil 1995) however that was a tad down on NASCAR’s spectacular tally on FS1 from Darlington, which began on the identical time.
One factor that did strike me as odd was the timetable of the weekend. Not solely clashing with NASCAR, pushing it into the late afternoon in Miami in Could was asking for thunderstorms – and so they obtained fortunate with the course the wind was blowing in the course of the daytime, because the heavens solely actually opened on the observe in the course of the evenings.
With final 12 months’s Spa debacle nonetheless contemporary in thoughts, the standard protocol of coping with electrical storms within the US is to halt the racing and evacuate the group from the grandstands till there hasn’t been a lightning strike inside 10 miles for half-hour. Think about that for the present? I used to be advised that there was a “very detailed plan in place” for lightning – though no person would inform me what it really was…
Drivers had a combined response to the Miami observe
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Pictures
The drivers cherished being in Miami however, as traditional, discovered one thing to complain about with the observe. For me, it was key to this occasion’s success that the observe was completely different – it wanted a USP, particularly with a Las Vegas avenue observe coming subsequent 12 months. The stadium gave a singular backdrop, and the observe’s uncommon floor gave groups and drivers one thing to consider.
I grabbed a Pirelli scorching lap of the observe on Friday and, from the passenger seat of an Aston Martin Vantage, the distinction from the quick and flowing areas to the twisty sections following the Flip 11 hairpin was enormous. Once more, it’s one thing that units the venue aside – and I don’t suppose it’s a foul factor having drivers complain about that chicane: they’re meant to be the perfect on this planet, so the very last thing it must be is ‘straightforward’.
As Stefano Domenicali advised us: “If they aren’t glad there may be numerous sport to do. I am joking!” Many a real phrase spoken in jest, Stefano…
He added: “As at all times, we have to look into perspective, the larger image. What we have now lived this weekend is big for the game.”
Fairly proper, too. The Miami GP couldn’t have been simply in regards to the racing on observe to justify its presence on the schedule, as a result of sport right here is nothing with out spectacle.
Even in case you may have assured racing like Gilles Villeneuve/Rene Arnoux at Dijon 1979, mixed with the crash chaos of Silverstone 1973 with Verstappen crossing the end line backwards, folks would nonetheless have been speaking about that extremely awkward silence between Brundle and Venus Williams on the grid stroll…
Like Monaco, which even has an actual marina, this race must be celebrated for what it’s – an outlier that ought to by no means be thought to be the norm.
Quite a few celebrities, together with Venus Williams, had been in attendance
Photograph by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Pictures
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