10 things to watch out for at the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix

10 things to watch out for at the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix

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Miami will host its third F1 event in May and there is plenty to watch as the sport heads to American shores for the first of three visits this season. Here are 10 things to watch out for, plus the chance to catch the Miami Grand Prix in person with MoneyGram.

1. Will Verstappen finally take pole position?

Max Verstappen may have won and set the fastest lap at both Miami races so far, but he’s never started from pole. In 2022, a mistake in qualifying left him third on the grid and he had to pass both Ferraris to get in front. In 2023, he was fastest in Q1 and Q2 but failed to set a time in Q3 after a red flag stopped the session. This left him ninth on the grid, but he managed to overtake everyone ahead of him. After an impressive run of poles this season, however, it could be third time lucky for the Red Bull driver in Miami.

2. Wear sporty lids

Many riders are creating special helmet liveries for this event and there will definitely be many more unique designs this year – but some of the previous efforts will be hard to beat. There are always plenty of palm trees, but the most notable creations so far have been three sports-themed covers, with Alex Albon carrying a golf ball last year and Lando Norris sporting a basketball and a beach ball in the last two events. So what will it be this time…maybe a baseball?

3. Star Special

If there’s any place where the national anthem takes center stage, it’s America, and this time the Star-Spangled Banner will be sung by six-time Grammy Award winner Marc Anthony. Expect something a little different, as organizers have promised that the singer, who is credited with more than 107 Billboard number one hits, will “put his own spin” on the special moment. The first run saw five-time Latin Grammy Award winner Luis Fonsi give his take on the anthem while last year it was another Puerto Rican singer, Gale, on the mic. Anthony, like those before him, was selected because of his influence on Hispanic culture.

4. Double the drama as the sprint comes to town

Two victories are on the line in Miami this year after being named as one of six Sprint Race hosts for 2024. Saturday’s sprint will span 100 km (62.14 miles) – about a third of the distance of a grand prix – without a pit stop. and eight points awarded to the winner, up to one point for eighth. The other Sprint events will take place in China, Austria, Austin, Brazil and Qatar.

5. Future female F1 stars

Miami will see the F1 Academy return to the United States, with the second round of the all-female series on tap. The championship involves cars supported by each of the F1 teams and Miami represents the only opportunity for fans to see the female drivers race on American soil. There are two Americans on the grid chasing success, with Lia Block in the Williams and Chloe Chambers, who finished fourth in the season-opening race in Jeddah and is chasing more points behind the wheel of Campos Racing supported by MoneyGram Haas F1 Team.

6. Supercar culture

Some of the world’s most spectacular supercars will join the F1 lineup in Miami in a live show culminating in an auction hosted by Bonhams Cars. The show reflects the automotive culture of Miami and the South Florida region, and will see an impressive collection of approximately 25 classic cars on display around the Miami campus before being driven onto the racetrack for the auction, which will take place right in front of the podium.

7. Home hopes to end 35-year wait for American driver

This will be the first of three home races for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, with drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen looking for points – the Dane finished 10th here last year, the third time the team has scored points in the USA. It’s also a big event for Williams driver Logan Sargeant. The Florida-born driver, in his second F1 season, returns to his home state with a mission: a top 10 finish would end a 35-year wait for an American driver to score points on home soil national. The last time this happened was in 1989, when Eddie Cheever finished on the podium after taking third place in Phoenix with his Arrows.

8. Mix up schedules

The Miami race is a daytime event, allowing fans across the pond to view it in the late afternoon and evening. Saturday’s sprint will take place at noon local time, making it a 5 p.m. start in the UK and 6 p.m. in Europe. Qualifying begins four hours later, at 4 p.m. local time, which is 9 p.m. in the UK and 10 p.m. in Europe, and the lights go out for the main event at the same 4 p.m. slot on Sunday.

9. Hit the wall

The walls are close in Miami and with a smooth track surface and high temperatures, tires can quickly overheat and lose grip. Straying from the line makes things even worse, so mistakes can be costly. During the first race weekend in Miami, Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon both suffered heavy crashes at turn 13 during practice, while last year Leclerc hit the wall twice at turn 7 – one both during practice and again in qualifying. In 2022 there was a safety car period and a virtual safety car period, while in 2023 there was a complicated first lap but no safety car period. Expect even more drama this time.

10. Lap record

The 2022 lap record around Miami was set by Max Verstappen in 1m31.361s, but he broke it last year with a lap of 1m29.709s. Both times were set over the final three laps of the race, so keep an eye on the end of this year to see if anyone can go better. The fastest lap ever on the circuit is currently held by Sergio Perez, whose pole position in 2023 was 1’26”841.

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