It’ll be a star-studded F1 party! The official opening night for The Miami Grand Prix event at the Hard Rock Stadium.
The Miami Grand Prix takes place for the first time on 8 May 2022 after a lengthy saga for Formula 1 owners Liberty Media and billionaire local businessman Stephen Ross to run a world championship event at the Hard Rock Stadium. Here’s some inside info:
Previous plans for a downtown Miami street race, promoted by Miami Dolphins NFL team owner Ross, were voted down in City Hall in 2019 following opposition from local residents and businesses. But the new track in Miami Gardens – built around Ross’s football stadium in a city located to the north of Miami – will now host the event for the next 10 years.
When is the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix?
F1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX takes place on May 6-8 and is the fifth round of the Formula 1 world championship. It is also the first of the season in North America, with the Canadian Grand Prix set for 17-19 June, the United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas taking place on 21-23 October and the Mexico City Grand Prix on 28-30 October. Next year they will be joined by the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November.
Miami Grand Prix CEO Richard Cregan said: “We can’t wait to introduce Formula 1 to Miami, and this event is the perfect way to start the race week. We’ve been working tirelessly to deliver an event that people will enjoy, and also on ways to give as many fans as possible a taste of our event.”
Pre-Race Events at The Autodrome
The Miami Grand Prix race weekend starts on Friday 6 May, with F1 free practice beginning at 2:30 local time, with another hour-long session at 5:30. Saturday 7 May is F1 qualifying day, taking place at 4:00 after the final free practice at 1:00. The first-ever race at Miami International Autodrome will be a W Series event at 14:25 on Saturday, with a Porsche Sprint Challenge event following F1 qualifying.
Sunday 8 May is F1 race day, with the support races kicking off the action in the morning before the grand prix itself starts at 3:30.
In addition to the events at the track, Mercedes F1 team sponsor FTX has partnered with the city of Miami Beach to run a three-day fan festival on the sands of its iconic South Beach. That will include a demonstration of a Mercedes F1 car on the world-famous Ocean Drive on the Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend.
The ‘FTX Off The Grid’ event will begin on May 6 on the beachfront across from 10th Street and Ocean, which will feature ticketed music performances in the evenings by top DJs Disclosure, Kaytranada and Jamie XX in an event labelled ‘Sunset on the Sand’.
During the daytime, a 165,000 square feet site will be designated an ‘Electric Beach themed entertainment venue’. This is set to include a Mercedes F1 garage and car display, art galleries, an exhibition from Swiss watchmaker IWC (another Mercedes sponsor), fashion shows and motorsport simulators that will be free for fans to attend and engage with across the race weekend.
Welcome to the Autodrome
It features 19 turns – seven right-handers, 12 left-handers – with three straights, the longest of which is just under a mile. Predicted lap times are in the 1m35s bracket, with an average F1 lap speed calculated at 134mph in simulations. Designed by UK firm Apex Circuit Design, the track is semi-permanent, featuring 2,864 concrete blocks and 2,976 debris fence panels which will be set up for the race each year and then dismantled to allow for parking at the stadium for its other events.
The track itself is made up of 85,000 yards of asphalt that was laid in three strips – weighing 24,000 tons in total. It is 50-feet wide in most places, but narrows to 32-feet at Turn 16, which is where the track winds under two overpasses to the nearby Turnpike road that links Miami to Orlando.
The backstraight will produce speeds just under 200mph, with maximum braking loads of 5.5g and laterals of 5.1g expected around the course. The pit building, which is permanent, features 36 garages and a double-decker Paddock Club hospitality on top. Another significant feature is a gondola cable car system, which crosses over the track near Turn 9.
The track’s design had to be revamped from an initial layout following local residents raising concerns about the disruption caused by closing the 199th St throughfare.
Postscript: The rocky relationship between America and the Grand Prix circuit
Formula 1 has had a rollercoaster relationship with America. Right from the opening year of the world championship in 1950, the Indianapolis 500 was a points-paying round – despite F1 drivers rarely taking part.
Sebring in Florida and Riverside in California were the first tracks to host events under the United States Grand Prix banner in 1959 and 1960 respectively, before it found a home at Watkins Glen in upstate New York from 1961-1980.
As well as the US Grand Prix, Long Beach in California also held the United States Grand Prix West from 1976-1983. The Caesars Palace Grand Prix ran in 1981 and 1982, while Detroit held a race between 1982 and 1988 and Dallas held a one-off street race in 1984.
The US Grand Prix name returned for three years on the streets of Phoenix from 1989-91, before another break was ended by eight years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course from 2000-07.
After some disastrous events, including the infamous six-car race of 2005, another gap was ended when Austin’s Circuit of The Americas signed a long-term deal with F1, beginning from 2012 to the present day.
In 2023, Las Vegas will join the list with a street race that includes a section on the famous ‘Strip’ entertainment zone.