Michelle Kaufman: High Speed! Big Money! Big Egos! Drama! Miami is the perfect place for an F1 race.

Michelle Kaufman, Miami Herald on

Published in Auto Racing

MIAMI — Most South Florida drivers have probably been too busy weaving through traffic on I-95, the Palmetto and the Turnpike to notice that a Formula One race track the size of 59 football fields — 17 Eiffel Towers in length — is being constructed and nearing completion around the parking lots of Hard Rock Stadium.

And this isn’t just any F1 track. This is a Miami-Style Over-The-Top racetrack for the upcoming inaugural Miami Grand Prix May 6-8.

The original idea of a waterfront Monaco-like course through downtown Miami and over a bridge to the Port of Miami was nixed (as so many waterfront sports projects are — just ask David Beckham), so Dolphins owner Stephen Ross did what Stephen Ross does. He offered to open his checkbook and host the event at his less charming but more welcoming all-purpose stadium in Miami Gardens. He did the same for the Miami Open when the tennis tournament was forced out of Key Biscayne.

It won’t be as picturesque as it would have been along the turquoise bay, with gorgeous aerial camera views of cruise ships, the skyline and fans watching from yachts and sailboats. But Ross’ group is doing its best to replicate a waterfront ambiance at the landlocked venue.

In the center of the track, near turns 11, 12 and 13, will be a 24,000 square-foot beach club zone featuring a resort-style pool with luxury cabanas, bars and DJs playing music.

And that’s not all! A Monaco-inspired faux marina “Yacht Club” is being constructed — complete with about a dozen dry-docked yachts — on the infield of turns 6, 7 and 8. Some race patrons paid $38,000 for a four-person “Yacht Club” package, $19,000 for a two-person pass and $9,500 for a single.


Prepaid tickets for the Miami Grand Prix sold out in just 40 minutes, and resale sites are now offering grandstand seats at well over $1,000. Miami’s ticket prices are second highest of the 23 stops on the F1 circuit, behind Monaco.

Are you surprised? If ever there was a sporting event made for Miami, it’s an F1 race. This is a glamorous sport centered around life in the fast lane, big money, big egos, a global melting pot of racers, heartthrobs, politics, and drama. Lots of drama.

In other words, Miami!

The wildly popular F1 Netflix documentary series “Drive to Survive”, in its fourth season, is a telenovela on steroids and has turned Americans — including me and my husband — into Formula 1 followers.


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