Formula 1 set for South Florida debut with Miami Grand Prix

The deafening roar of Formula One cars zipping around miles of asphalt will soon ring the ears of fans surrounding the Miami International Autodrome at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, as the final preparations for the Miami Grand Prix begin.

The Grand Prix is the first of a ten-year contract that was signed last April as F1 hopes to continue the growth of the sport in the United States. This is the first F1 race held in South Florida and the 11th in the States.

The historic race is set to take place from May 6th to the 8th. The venue has been under construction at Hard Rock Stadium since the summer of 2021 and has cost an estimated $40 million to create the track. 

Concerned about noise, neighbors had sued to stop the race, but a judge last week allowed the competition to go ahead — but said noise measurements could affect future F1 competitions at the site.

Motorsports are nothing new to the area. Miami has hosted indycar and CART races — and the nearby Homestead-Miami speedway offers Nascar competitions every season. 

The Miami Grand Prix will require drivers to complete 57 laps on a track totaling just over three miles that include 19 turns and three straightaways, with grandstands placed along most turns. Inspired by the Monaco Grand Prix, there will be a manmade “yacht club” to provide luxurious viewing of the race. 

The course was designed to emulate a street race and according to the F1 website it draws similarities to Albert Park, a track in Melbourne, Australia. 

Miami International Autodrome track length compared to other top F1 races on the tour (Liam Rooney/SFMN)

Why Miami?

The race is expected to draw a global audience and F1 newcomers alike, according to race organizer and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Tom Garfikel.

“To bring the glamor and elegance of Formula 1 and the technology of F1 racing to a dynamic, growing city like Miami right now is fantastic,” Garfinkel said in a recent promotional video. 

Garfinkel has been vocal in his belief that the Miami race will provide what he calls a “different” vibe to that of what a typical F1 race has. In his promotional video he said that Miami is a creative hub for fashion, art, music and sports, making it the perfect staging ground for the grand prix to elevate into one of the sports premier races. 

Despite Garfinkel’s positive outlook for F1 in Miami, there has been protest to the race spearheaded by former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Betty Ferguson. Residents say that the loud piercing noise F1 cars make is a health concern and can cause ear damage to those living nearby the stadium. Even with the protest, the race is still scheduled to take place. 

The race will draw the best and brightest from the world of Formula 1 and will be the fifth race of the 2022 season. It is one of the two races in the U.S. this year, the other being the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.  

The season stop in Miami will follow the Rolex Gran Premio Del Made In Italy E Dell’Emilla-Romagna that takes place in the Italian city of Imola at their historic F1 track. 

The race takes place over a three day span, with the first two days used for qualifying and placement for race day. All 20 cars will participate in an attempt to gain a better starting position when the race starts. 

The F1 track located at Hard Rock Stadium (Wikicommons)

Drivers to keep an eye on

Entering the weekend in Miami, the top names in F1 will compete to become the first champion of the race. Some of the names to pay attention to when race day rolls around are Lewis Hamilton, George Russell, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. 

Leclerc has started the season strong racing with team Ferrari, winning two of the first three races and placing second in the other. The 24 year old has quickly become the best driver in the world this season with his wins at the Gulf Air Bahrin and Saudi Arabia Grand Prixs and could continue his dominance with another top three finish in Miami. 

Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Sainz has placed in the top three in the same two grand prixs Leclerc won. Sainz has helped Ferrari become a dominant force this season, and his first win of the season could come in the sunshine state. 

Both Hamilton and Russell are teammates for the Mercedes F1 team and have started the 2022 season brightly. Hamilton, a seven time world champion, and Russell both have top three finishes this season with Russell yet to place lower than 5th. Both drivers consistently place in top positions and will look to claim Mercedes first win of the year in Miami.   

Last season’s F1 World Champion and Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has had an up and down start to his championship defense. He has not finished two races but claimed a victory at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. The Belgian will look to Miami as a platform to jump him back up the season rankings and into title contention once again. 

Current F1 leaderboard before the Melbourne and Miami Grand Prix (Liam Rooney/SFMN)

More than a race, it’s an event

Celebrities and sponsors alike will flock to the 305 for the race to catch a glimpse of history. Some of the notable sponsors for the race include, RedBull and J.P. Morgan. There will also be 17 food trucks from locally owned minority businesses at the race.

Singers Post Malone and Maluma have already been confirmed as performers for the race weekend with the organizers goal to create an event at the Hard Rock Stadium that can rivals the Monaco Grand Prix. 

The Hard Rock has hosted a number of events ranging from the Miami Open, one of the premier tournaments on the ATP tour, WWE’s Wrestlemania, multiple concerts, and the Miami Dolphins and College Footballs Orange Bowl.

With every driver in the field capable of claiming the inaugural Miami Grand Prix and the surrounding fanfare, the grand prix hopes to put its name alongside other premier events held at the stadium. 

Liam Rooney is a junior majoring in digital journalism and a staff writer for PantherNOW’s sports section. Liam would like to continue his career journey in the world of sports media after he graduates.