Sunday, July 30, 2023

F1 Miami Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Pano shot from our seats at the F1 Miami Grand Prix pre-race. 

The big anticipated of NMS vs. NMS this weekend did not happen since the autocross event was cancelled. Oh well, let's get caught back up with our visit to the Miami F1 race!

Back in May Julie and I visited the Miami Grand Prix weekend and had a blast! Since then things have been busy moving to SC, and I just realized that after blogging about Friday practice and Saturday qualifying, I left out RACE DAY! Here we go!

Pre-race view of the grid on track. Honest, there's 19 or 20 race cars down there somewhere. 

After visiting the track for Friday practice, and the excitement of Saturday qualifying, it was finally time for the main event: Race Day on Sunday for the 2023 Miami F1 race!  Long story short, 2 time defending champ Max Verstappen came roaring through the field from 9th place at the start and took the win. His teammate Sergio Perez started on pole position and finished 2nd. Two-time champ Fernando Alonso drove solidly from 2nd on the grid and finished in 3rd for Aston Martin to round out the podium. Losing a place in the entire race sounds bad, but when it's Verstappen in the fastest car this year, not a big deal. 

Standing by in case any of the 10 teams needs a last-minute replacement driver!
Spoiler alert: They didn't!

The crowd on Sunday was bigger than the previous two days. Mostly we knew this because after the race there was a ridiculous bottleneck of pedestrians trying to leave the grandstand area. At one point there were people on foot (including us) going in opposite directions and NOT MOVING for minutes at a time. Once we got off the grounds the car traffic was very good, but man there's gotta be a way they can manage the foot traffic better. There were some workers around, but they were only focused on keeping people out of the fancy suites and etc, so no one was doing anything about us poor fans. Oh well! Next time I'll stay in the grandstands and wait for the crowd to thin out. Or better yet, win the lottery, stay in the luxury suites, and fly in and out by chopper!

Formula 1 with cheerleaders? Must be in the USA. Later this year the F1 circus will return to races in Austin Texas, and Las Vegas Nevada.

Like the previous two days, it was hot (because: MIAMI), so there were free water stands, and just to stay hydrated we also bought a few beers and some snacks. With a big crowd, the other issue is having enough bathrooms. While sometimes there was a line for the facilities, overall, it worked out OK. 

Drivers waiting for their introductions. American driver and Miami native Logan Sargeant is bottom center with the Williams team "W" on his back. 

The Pre-Race "show" was over the top for Formula 1, which normally doesn't go all Show-Biz-USA-style. In Miami though, we had corny driver introductions, complete with music from an orchestra being conducted by Will I. Am, driver intros from LL Cool J, the Miami Dolphin Cheerleaders, and since our seats were right in front of this show, it was cheesy entertainment at its best. On a positive note, the National Anthem singer did a great job, and it was cool to see the drivers right down below our 13th row seats. When I looked at my photos later, I found Sir Jackie Stewart (3-time F1 world champ) in some of them, so that was cool.

Sorry it's a zoomed in phone camera photo, but in the left of the photo is Red Bull driver Sergio Perez, in the middle (facing away with plaid pants and cap) is 3-time world champ Sir Jackie Stewart, and over on the right is defending champion Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Another driver is in the lower left, but I can't tell who that is, maybe Mercedes' George Russell?

We really enjoyed the race, the full weekend, and other than a very slow pedestrian exit just to get away from the grandstands, the facilities, parking, etc all ran smoothly. While the overall feel was more crowded than the race in Austin TX, it looks like Miami will be hosting F1 for some time, although maybe they can cut out the big showbiz production next time. 

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