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Booming F1 Rolls Into Florida For Miami GP

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 7 2022

The booming Formula 1 series is racing in Miami this weekend. (Photo courtesy of the Miami Grand Prix)

Despite 15 years of an all-out assault of gimmickry, NASCAR’s water-treading in its effort to recapture auto racing relevancy, founders on. Not Cars of Tomorrow, playoffs, overtimes, stage racing, Nex Gen, dirt racing nor constant shilling by TV network partners have been able to bring the series back to its claimed former status as America’s fastest growing sport – or anything close to that.

With all that in mind, the folks in the NASCAR offices in Daytona Beach must be being driven absolutely mad by what they are seeing 260 miles to the south this weekend.

Formula 1 is staging its first-ever race in Miami – the Miami Grand Prix – and, like the series as a whole in America, interest is booming.

Much of that boom, it appears, has been ignited not by gimmicks but by the success of a television documentary series about F1.

In July of 2007, it was announced that the U.S. Grand Prix’s controversial eight-year run at the infield road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway would come to an acrimonious end. And with it, perhaps Formula 1 racing in the United States for the foreseeable future.

American F1 fans sunk into depression. But not for long.

In 2010, it was announced that the international series would return as Austin, Texas was granted a 10-year contract to host races, beginning in 2012 on a natural-terrain track being built just outside of that city. The race at the Circuit of the Americas has been held every year since; except in the Covid-19 pandemic year of 2020.

This year, F1 fans will be fed a second helping of their beloved sport as an event in Miami, Fla. has a date on the schedule and that date is May 8th – this Sunday.

Miami will be the fifth race on the 23-race schedule in 2022. It will give the United State two races in a single season for the first time since 1984 when races were held in Detroit and Dallas – or as one F1 writer quipped, in Motown and Mootown.

F1 and its rekindled love affair with the U.S. will get even deeper next year when a race in Las Vegas is added to the schedule.

What’s up with all of this? So-called experts are crediting everything from the smashing success of Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” – which is a “docuseries” about F1 racing – to better racing because of changes to the cars.

Sunday’s race will be held on a 19-turn, 3.36-mile layout around Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens north of downtown Miami. 

It features a couple long straights. That could favor the Red Bull car of Max Verstappen, who has won twice in 2022 and whose cars are loaded with straightline speed.

It features a fake marina.

It also features race-day ticket prices that exceed $5,000 at online ticket outlets.

The current season has seen the Belgian/Dutch Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc of Monaco emerge as the drivers to beat as both have two victories.

Noticeable by his absence this year has been Mercedes’ seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton. His cars have been hampered by “porpoising” problems and lack of straightline speed in relation to the Red Bull and Ferrari cars. Mercedes is reportedly putting revamped rear wings on the cars this weekend in hopes of solving its problems.

Then again, several teams will be unveiling changes in Miami.

A bonus for American fans this year has been the resurgence of the Haas F1 team. Owned by American Gene Haas, the team suffered as the worst team in the field the last couple years. But armed with the new VF 22 chassis, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen sits 10th in points with 15. Teammate Mick Schumacher has shown speed as well.

Magnussen was brought on board after Haas gave the boot to Russian driver Nikita Mazepin, who is, a strong supporter of dictator Vladimir Putin and Russia’s brutal invasion of the Ukraine.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 7 2022
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