Formula 1’s attempts to make it big in America has seen them venture to Florida for the first time with the Miami International Autodrome hosting the US’s answer to the Monaco Grand Prix.
Putting aside the fact a large part of the track is a car park for most of the year, race organisers have gone all out to make the Miami Grand Prix a glitzy and glamourous affair.
From reams of VIP guests, a paddock on an American football field, a beach club and a fake marina filled with yachts, the Miami International Autodrome is the place to see and be seen when F1 comes to town.
As for the action on the track, the street-style circuit, similar to Australia’s Albert Park, features unforgiving barriers lining sections of a track made up of several long straights, 19 corners and three DRS zone.
The layout has yet to produce a race worthy of the top class facilities surrounding it with drivers having gripes about the surface and certain sections.
But with organisers ready to plough money into every aspect of the Miami International Autodrome, the future looks bright for the Sunshine Stats venue.
|2024 Miami Grand Prix
|Miami International Autodrome, Florida
|Sunday, May 7 at 2:30 PM ET
|How to watch
The city of Miami put forward several proposals before settling on the current site with a race around PortMiami and the downtown area initially proposed.
When those two suggestions were rejected, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross suggested staging a grand prix around the American football team’s home, Hard Rock Stadium in the suburb of Miami Gardens.
The track is located on the private grounds of Hard Rock Stadium, utilising the car park and new and existing roads to create the circuit with the stadium itself the backdrop for the start/finish straight.
Work began on converting the ground around Hard Rock Stadium in April 2021 with 24,000 tons of asphalt and 1,130 tons of concrete used across the site.
Work began on the pit buildings in September of that year with construction completed the following January.
As a temporary circuit, the majority of the track and facilities are only put in place a few weeks before the race weekend.
A lap of the Miami International Autodrome measures 5.412km, which is around the average for the current F1 tracks.
Before settling on the layout, up to 75 designs were considered with 36 of those put through a simulator before the final circuit was decided upon.
They settled on a layout which sees drivers hit top speeds of 340km/h and go through a series of elevation changes during a lap which takes around 90 seconds to complete.
Race organisers had hoped to stage the maiden Miami Grand Prix in 2021 but were left off the Formula 1 calendar that year.
The Miami International Autodrome would eventually make its debut in May 2022.
There’s only ever been one driver to win the Miami Grand Prix with Max Verstappen taking the chequered flag on both of F1’s visits to Florida.
The Red Bull racer held off a strong challenge from Ferrari in the maiden race, passing pole-sitter Charles Leclerc for victory.
This year’s race saw Verstappen start from ninth, but even on a track where overtaking isn’t easy, he was able to carve his way through the field and eventually pass his team mate Sergio Perez with 10 laps to go.
Verstappen set the race lap record during his successful charge through the field in 2023, going round in a time of 1:29.708.
Leclerc is the proud owner of the fastest lap ever recorded at the circuit having done a 1:28.796 in his Ferrari in qualifying in 2022.
The centrepiece of the track, Hard Rock Stadium, is no stranger to hosting major events having previously staged six Super Bowls, Wrestlemania, baseball and numerous music concerts.
Meanwhile, the south car park was turned into a tennis venue in 2019 and is now the home of the Miami Open.
In terms of motorsports around the Miami International Autodrome, F1 and the Porsche Carrera Cup are the only two classes currently racing at the circuit.
There was a threat of rain for the 2023 race, but with the wet weather holding off, both races have been run in hot and dry conditions.
Temperatures have ranged from 27C up to 32C during the two races weekend so far in Miami, which is well known for its hot and humid climate.