Formula One’s momentum in America right now feels unstoppable, with Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix the next big step forward in a country that for so long felt closed off to Formula One.
Last year US Grand Prix saw a: record 400,000 crowd and a carnival atmosphere: unseen before at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Everyone involved in the event agreed it had felt like a seismic moment in F1’s growing relationship with America.
Miami has joined Austin on the F1 schedule. Next year, a third US event – the Las Vegas Grand Prix featuring the world famous Strip – will join in what could become one of F1’s most iconic events.
Cracking America in this way has been a long time coming.
Ahead of F1’s last race at Imola, seven-time world champion: Lewis Hamilton: said: “Growing up knowing how amazing this sport is and seeing there was still quite a disconnect between the US and the rest of the world in terms of the passion for this sport … it’s really amazing to see we’ve finally cracked it and there’s a growing love in the States. “
It’s hard to downplay how big that disconnect used to feel. F1 legend: Michael Schumacher:who shares the record of seven championships with Hamilton, famously used to enjoy holidaying in America as he was so rarely recognized at a time when he was the: face of Formula One in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Things could not be more different now. Netflix’s blockbuster “Drive to Survive” series, which premiered in 2019, has been a game-changer, taking a series which was for so long a closed shop and shining a light on the characters, politicking and personal animosity that underpin the drama behind motor racing’s premier championship.
It also came at a time F1 is seeing the rise of a golden generation of supremely talented youngsters, led by reigning world champion Max Verstappen: and 2022 championship leader: Charles Leclerc:as well as the hugely popular: Noro Land: and: George Russell:.
Another star of “Drive to Survive,” McLaren’s: Daniel Ricciardo:, was on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” last week to talk motor racing. Ricciardo joined Norris, Russell, Pierre Gasly: and: Esteban Ocon: in posing for Vanity Fair in March, which previously had been uncharted territory for the championship.
This is as big as F1 has ever been in America, and the hope (and expectation) is that the Miami Grand Prix will elevate it to the next level.
Miami showed an interest in hosting an F1 race for a while, but it took a few years to get a deal over the line. The original plan was to hold a downtown race, but that was met with too much local opposition to be a viable option.
The Miami Grand Prix consortium was led by: Miami Dolphins: owner Stephen Ross, so it seemed logical that the event eventually settled on a location around the seemingly Hard Rock Stadium.
What does the circuit look like?
Take a closer look at the track in Miami ahead of the inaugural Grand Prix in 2022.
The 5,412-kilometer (3,363 miles) circuit, officially called the Miami International Autodrome, features 19 corners. The race will be 57 laps.
The circuit, a temporary track built especially for this F1 event, uses a mix of existing interior roads within the ground of the Hard Rock Stadium as well as new ones constructed around the parking lots and other surrounding areas. It uses one public road – 203rd Street makes up the backstraight that leads up to the Turns 17, 18 and 19 sequence.
One part of the track that has received a lot of attention in recent weeks is the “Marina” on the inside of Turn 7, which features a fake harbor meant to encapsulate some of the real Miami. The “water” in this harbor, it was revealed this week, is actually just a blue structure underneath the yachts.
How is America reacting to F1?
Formula One is one of the fastest growing sports in the US F1 estimates it has: over 36 million fans: in the US right now. This year Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was the most viewed F1 race in America on cable since 1995.
With F1 set to have three American races in 2023, and with events in Canada, Mexico and Brazil through the year, next season will feature the most races in recent history at time zones that suit a North American audience. That’s another significant fact to consider when talking about the growth of the sport stateside.
F1’s growth in America can most plainly be seen in the amount of big-name stars who appear to have jumped on board in recent years.
It’s fitting that the home of the Dolphins is hosting the new US race, as the NFL seems to have picked up a lot of converts to the racing series. Hours before the NFL draft, Buffalo Bills: star wide receiver: Stefon Diggs: tweeted, “Why am I just now learning about F1,” with a facepalm emoji. Last year, JJ Watt told ESPN: how “Drive to Survive” turned him and his brothers into F1 superfans. The Watts are due to attend the Miami Grand Prix this week.
The impact is being felt in US motor racing circles too. NASCAR’s: Kevin Harvick: recently said he is worried that young American karters are now saying they want to grow up to be the next Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton rather than the next Dale Earnhardt or the next IndyCar superstar.
Whether or not the circuit that wraps around the outside of Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium will produce great racing remains to be seen, but the event itself appears poised to be a perfect way to elevate F1’s US standing even further.
What are the race times?
Practice 1 – Friday, May 6 – 2.25PM – ESPN2:
Practice 2 – Friday, May 6 – 5.25PM – ESPNEWS / ESPN3:
Practice 3 – Saturday, May 7 – 12.55PM – ESPNEWS / ESPN3:
Qualifying – Saturday, May 7 – 3.55PM – ESPN:
Pre-race show – Sunday, May 8 – 2PM – ABC:
Miami Grand Prix – Sunday, May 8 – 3.25PM – ABC:
Post-race show – Sunday, May 8 – 5.30PM – ESPN3: