Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Formula 1 makes long awaited debut in Miami

Posted on 5 May 2022 by Ben Thorne

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This weekend Formula 1 will be serving up a spectacle as the 2022 championship heads to the Miami for the first time in its illustrious history.

The roaring engines will soon be reverberating around the towering skyscrapers, sandy beaches and rising palm trees that embody the beautiful surrounding of Miami.

This comes as no surprise, however, as F1 have been organizing the ‘crypto.com Miami grand prix’ since 2018 when plans were first put in place on the track layout.

The circuit has been developed and designed in the sporting epicentre of Florida. With the track encompassing the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami gardens where the infamous Miami Dolphins play.

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The drivers will have to adapt quick to the street circuit of the ‘Miami International Autodrome’ which will consist of 57 laps, 19 high speed turns and 3 potential DRS (drag reduction system) zones.

It has become clear over the past couple of years how big the intention has been for Formula 1 to nail down the US market, with the 2021 Austin GP proving as such.

The Grand Prix held in Austin, Texas last year broke the record attendance with 400,000 present to watch a thrilling battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

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Furthermore, the F1 paddock will soon become well accustomed to the US, as this year it was announced that F1 will also be visiting the bright lights and grandeur of Las Vegas from the 2023 season onwards.

Lewis Hamilton highlighted the upturn in popularity for Formula 1 when he spoke on Good Morning America. He said: “I’ve been coming out here for a long, long time but I never quite understood why people weren’t into Formula One.

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“Everyone knew NASCAR and, obviously, you’ve got such huge sporting fans out here but this Netflix show, particularly through the pandemic, has brought massive awareness to the sport and now it’s booming.

“New circuits are always something I look forward to, and when you add in the excitement around a US race, particularly in Miami. It’s looking fast with some great features and with the added element of being a street track, it’s going to be a fun challenge.”

It is impossible to analyse the resurgent popularity of Formula 1, over the past few years, without the introduction of the Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive.’

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Americanisation seems to be pressuring sports’ governing bodies to change or modify their formats to accommodate an alternate approach to sport, with the Super League in football providing an adequate example.

This is no different in Formula 1, with the ‘Drive to Survive’ series being the catalyst to engage a new audience that will, in turn, create more financial and commercial benefits.

The amount of demand and pressure from sponsors on the teams to not only perform on the track, but exploit new audiences seems to be balancing out.

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However, this should not be seen as a negative or a hindrance on Formula 1, as these conscious decisions to exploit the US market are only replicating what we are seeing in sport across the globe.

The Miami grand prix takes place off the back of a significant weekend in Imola, which could see the momentum in the drivers and constructors championships swing Red Bull’s way.

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Red Bull achieved their first ever ‘one-two’ at a grand prix since Malaysia in 2016, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez closing the gap to Ferrari to just 11 points in the constructors championship.

This may prove to be one of Max Verstappen’s most important victories at the end of the season, as he closed the gap to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as the Monegasque blew third as he spun with only 10 laps to go.

Ferrari’s dominance in the first stage of the season was met by Red Bull’s suffering with reliability issues with Verstappen having to retire in 2 of the first 3 races of the season.

However, whilst the technical issues do seem to be improving for Red Bull, the same cannot be said for Mercedes with George Russell finishing 4th and Lewis Hamilton continuing to struggle in 14th.

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Hamilton has therefore been questioned on his performance in Imola, after spending the whole second half of the race behind a DRS train of Alex Albon of Williams and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly.

However, Mercedes are still exhibiting their ‘porposing’ problems which is minimizing their straight-line speed and having a detrimental effect to their performance.

The Miami grand prix this weekend could prove to be an opportunity for the likes of Mercedes and Ferrari to overcome their current struggles, as the unpredictability of the track is yet to be measured.

Learn more about the new GP in greater detail here: Miami Grand Prix 2022 – F1 Race (formula1.com)

Learn more about the chaotic events at the Saudi Arabian GP earlier this season: CARS, MISSILES AND THE 2022 F1 RACE IN JEDDAH – Sports Gazette