The standout performer of the Miami Grand Prix for me wasn’t Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc or Esteban Ocon – though they have been all fairly mega. It was Martin Brundle, whose TV grid stroll for Sky Sports activities F1 got here as shut as potential to creating some sense of the madness of this bonkers, celeb-packed new occasion on the Method 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 gentle bemusement by the entire spectacle actually made it really feel such as you have 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 concerning the pretend marina, the cable vehicles over the monitor or the Onerous Rock Seashore Membership (full with basking pretend mermaids) – the place they paved a car parking zone and put up a paradise.
It was so very Miami, a automobile chase that was solely lacking Don Johnson in his Ferrari Daytona (and keep in mind, was pretend too).
PLUS: How imperfect Miami offered F1’s drivers a unique challenge
For all of the gripes, although, concerning the ‘Americanization’ of F1, the one factor that wasn’t touched was the sporting spectacle. No makes an attempt have been made to jazz-up that aspect of issues, no timeouts or dancers on the monitor in the course of the safety-car interval. Positive, there have been world-class DJs in the home, spinning their tunes between classes, however just about every part in these components occurs with a thumping backbeat anyhow.
The factitious marina created on the circuit triggered a buzz on social media
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
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 Onerous Rock Stadium, getting the possibility 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 have been or not.
In case you have been on website, likelihood is you’d paid a reasonably 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 bought 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 certainly one of free follow one: Virtually each driver outbraked himself and went off! The group beloved it as mistake after mistake unfolded, and even when the drivers acquired their head across the braking level – which was clearly sooner than their sims had led them to consider – Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda had wild spins.
I used to be within the VIP seats because of F1’s bubbly provider Ferrari Trento, which revealed that 50,000 bottles of its effective fizzy wine had been loved by the 200,000 followers on the monitor and within the Miami-Dade area over race weekend. And the thoughts boggles on the merchandise gross sales that should’ve taken place – Purple Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari caps appear to be the must-wear merchandise on South Seashore’s Lincoln Highway proper now.
A affluent and well-liked F1 is an efficient F1 in my thoughts, particularly in a promote it had struggled to really crack for therefore lengthy.
Followers watch beneath the Onerous Rock Stadium cowl
Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
However, if you happen to’re feeling ‘properly jel’ concerning the stacks of VIPs flashing their money, you possibly can have the final snicker, as a significant hospitality fail meant that there was a scarcity of meals on provide on Friday. There’s one thing further indignant 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, they usually weren’t being hauled round by husbands or boyfriends – in lots of circumstances it appeared the opposite method round.
The feminine contingent throughout the Miami Campus appeared utterly engaged with the occasion. It explains a number of the uplift we’ve seen within the newest F1 World Fan Survey; that Drive to Survive influence has been vastly constructive for feminine curiosity within the collection, not simply the US viewers usually.
With reference to tv, reside 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 similar 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 Might was asking for thunderstorms – they usually acquired fortunate with the course the wind was blowing in the course of the daytime, because the heavens solely actually opened on the monitor in the course of the evenings.
With final 12 months’s Spa debacle nonetheless recent in thoughts, the same old 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 30 minutes. Think about that for the present? I used to be instructed 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 monitor
Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The drivers beloved being in Miami however, as standard, discovered one thing to complain about with the monitor. For me, it was key to this occasion’s success that the monitor was totally different – it wanted a USP, particularly with a Las Vegas avenue monitor coming subsequent 12 months. The stadium gave a novel backdrop, and the monitor’s uncommon floor gave groups and drivers one thing to consider.
I grabbed a Pirelli scorching lap of the monitor 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 the earth, so the very last thing it ought to be is ‘simple’.
As Stefano Domenicali instructed us: “If they don’t seem to be blissful there’s a number of sport to do. I am joking!” Many a real phrase spoken in jest, Stefano…
He added: “As all the time, we have to look into perspective, the larger image. What we’ve lived this weekend is big for the game.”
Fairly proper, too. The Miami GP couldn’t have been simply concerning the racing on monitor to justify its presence on the schedule, as a result of sport right here is nothing with out spectacle.
Even if you happen to 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 ought to be celebrated for what it’s – an outlier that ought to by no means be considered the norm.
Quite a few celebrities, together with Venus Williams, have been in attendance
Picture by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images