The Formula World Championship makes its Miami debut with the first of two races to be held in the United States this season. The second is in Austin on 23 October. This weekend's race takes place at the brand new Miami International Autodrome, which looks like being a very high speed venue, is 5.412 kilometres long and boasts 19 corners. Formula 1 is thus returning to Florida for the second time after the only previous Grand Prix run in the State was held at Sebring in 1959, a race in which the Scuderia did not take part.
Although considered a street circuit, it has little in common with others of that ilk, as there will be no need for road closures, because the layout features permanent facilities located around the Hard Rock Stadium, home to the NFL (National Football League) team, the Miami Dolphins. 36 possible layouts were considered before the final design was approved. It features long straights which should make for good overtaking opportunities, further aided by three DRS zones. As with any new venue there are plenty of unknowns but it is expected to be a low downforce track, similar to the quickest circuits on the calendar, even if it does have a very tight section from turns 11 to 16.
Cars will take to the track for the very first time for Friday's first free practice session at 14.30 local (20.30 CET), with the second one following at 17.30 (23.30 CET). Saturday features the final hour of free practice at 13 (19 CET) with qualifying getting underway at 16 (22 CET). The inaugural Miami Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 15.30 local (21.30 CET) and runs over 57 laps, equivalent to 308.326 kilometres.
Three questions to...
In modern-day Formula 1, simulation has pretty much replaced on-track testing. How do you help the team prepare for a Grand Prix weekend?
Enrico Sampo, Head of Driving Simulator: "The driving simulator is a key element in preparing for a race. The work starts several weeks before an event, looking at the previous year's race if possible. Then, a test driver undertakes several sessions to get an understanding of tyre behaviour, to predict car balance, to check the behaviour of special components and lastly, to test different set-up options. A few days before the event, the race drivers and their group of engineers tackle a session on the simulator to provide their input to the preparation and car set-up. With a new circuit like Miami, Charles and Carlos will also use the simulator to learn the track and to go through the various race weekend procedures."
From your point of view, when is the first time that you can see if the simulator work has been effective?
ES: "That would usually be during the first free practice session on Friday as that's when you get the first set of data and driver comments about the track. This is when we can compare the simulator data to the actual data from the track. With a new venue such as Miami, it's also important to check actual track data, such as the nature of the kerbs and the presence or absence of elements that the simulator model did not foresee. The correlation between how the car behaves on track and in the simulator is refined over the weekend, but having a good starting point is definitely essential so that the track engineers can focus on the details."
Miami is a completely new track, meaning that simulator work is even more important. What are its characteristics and how did you prepare for it along with the two drivers?
ES: "The fact it is a new circuit means that simulation is even more important. We expect the track to be quick, with some high speed corners in the first sector as well as some rather slow ones especially in sector three. There are some very long straights, with three DRS zones and good opportunities for overtaking. In terms of car balance, it is definitely a complex circuit and it will be important to find the right compromise to suit the various corner types and to run the car efficiently down the long straights. We have prepared for this event going through our usual procedures, being particularly careful as we are less certain than usual about the data we have. That means we are having to predict a wider than usual range of conditions and problems. Charles and Carlos both spent a lot of time on the simulator to learn the track and to explore the car's possible limitations, while trying different set-up solutions to optimise car balance and lap time."
Ferrari in the United States in World Championship races
GP entered 53
Debut 1952 Indianapolis 500 (A. Ascari ret.)
Wins 13 (24.53%)
Pole positions 13 (24.53%)
Fastest laps 16 (30.19%)
Total podiums 36 (22.64%)
Miami GP: facts & figures
9. Countries that have hosted two Formula 1 World Championship races in the same season. Italy was the first in 1957, when alongside the race in Monza, there was one in Pescara, and in total it has hosted two events per year on 20 occasions. Next up are Germany (13), United States (11), Spain (7), United Kingdom (5), Austria and Japan (2) and France and Bahrain (1). Only Italy and the United States have hosted three races in one season, the former in 2020 at Mugello, Monza and Imola and the latter in 1982 at Long Beach, Detroit and Las Vegas. Next year, the USA will once again host three races, with a new track at Las Vegas joining Miami and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
10+1. The United States tracks that have hosted Formula 1 World Championship rounds, to which will now be added Miami. 71 races have been held in this country, with Watkins Glen in New York State hosting 20 of them, while Indianapolis has been used 19 times, with eleven of those being the 500 Miles race, while a further eight were staged on the track built in 2000. Next up come Austin (9), Long Beach (8), Detroit (7), Phoenix (3), Caesars' Palace circuit Las Vegas (2) and Dallas, Riverside and Sebring (1).
11. The number of Formula 1 World Championship races, including Miami, that have been named after the host city. The oldest is the Indianapolis 500, which was part of the F1 calendar from 1950 to 1960. In 1957, there was a Grand Prix in Pescara, after which came Long Beach in the USA, which ran from 1976 to 1983. The Detroit GP was held from 1982 to 1988, while in 1984 there was a race in Dallas. In 1997 and 1998, the Nürburgring hosted the Luxembourg GP, although in this case, as with Singapore from 2008 to 2019, the name of the city was also the name of the country, something which does not apply to San Marino, as the capital is officially known as the City of San Marino. 2009 saw the first running of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, while last year the Mexican and Brazilian races were respectively renamed as the Mexico City and Sao Paulo Grands Prix.
22. The furthest back on the grid from which a World Championship Grand Prix was won in the United States. It happened at Long Beach in 1983 when John Watson took his McLaren to his fifth and last career win. The longest climb through the order to the podium occurred in the 1957 Indianapolis 500, when the Hopkins team's Jim Richard Rathmann (on the Hopkins' Epperly-Offenhauser) came through from 32nd on the grid to finish second. Both these records are currently unbeatable, with only 20 cars allowed on the Formula 1 grid. In the United States, Carlos managed to go from 20th to seventh in Austin in 2015, while the following year he got his best result at this race, finishing sixth. Charles finished fourth in Austin in 2019 and 2021.
1896. The year in which the city of Miami was founded, based around property owned by Julia Tuttle, a rich widow from Ohio, who moved to southern Florida in 1891, acquiring 640 acres of arable land. She became friends with railways constructor Henry Flager, whom she persuaded to extend the line to Miami, which led to rapid growth of the town centre.
At Ferrari 75 years ago
Scuderia Ferrari is set to race at Piacenza on 11 May, with two different versions of the 125. The 125 S is the first chassis built with a "spyder" body produced at Maranello by the local craftsman Giuseppe Peiretti and there is also a second chassis, closer to a single-seater, with removable mudguards. This version is known as the 125 C, the C standing for "Competizione" to distinguish it from the 125 S. It was designed by Giuseppe Busso from Turin, but Enzo Ferrari did not like it, calling it the "autobotte" or "truck." The S is to be driven by test driver Franco Cortese, the C entrusted to the established champion, Giuseppe Farina. The Sporting Director was Federico Giberti, a long time associate of Enzo Ferrari. Problems arose after the first practice sessions. Farina was unhappy with the 125 C and wanted Cortese's car, but the request was denied. The champion was not completely wrong, because in practice both drivers had tried both cars and Farina had only managed a 1'54"3 lap in the 125 C and a 1'52"1 in the S. Cortese meanwhile had stopped the clocks in 1'53 with the C and 1'51 in the S, faster in both cars, which is why Ferrari would not let them swap. Farina chose not to take part, so that Cortese, in the 125 S led for much of the race, before being let down by a trivial failure in the fuel pump. Ferrari described the result, as "a promising failure."
Check out our Thursday gallery from Miami, here.