'It's now a sport here.' The Formula One auto racing spectacle is back in Miami Gardens.

David J. Neal, Miami Herald on

Published in Auto Racing

MIAMI — Auto racing’s international circus, Formula 1, comes to town this week for the Miami Grand Prix, visit No. 3 to the Miami International Autodrome next to Hard Rock Stadium after two years of showing F1 can be as Miami as pastelitos and infuriating traffic.

Fast, expensive, overflowing with the rich and internationally famous — yes, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce are supposed to be here — some parts fake and playing a role in questionable political ethics.

Why seven-time F1 world champion Louis Hamilton not only dismissed the idea that the addition of Las Vegas diminishes Miami’s status on the schedule, he did so almost jumping at the question like hitting the gas off the starting line.

“Diminished?” Hamilton said. “No, I think the sport’s gotten bigger here, a lot more awareness. Every city I go to, people are excited. It’s now a sport here in the states. Before, it was just an event that arrived once a year. Now, we’re kind of a part of the culture here, which is really cool.

“I think all of us are super grateful of the U.S. finally embracing the sport and having the love and passion for it that we all had growing up.”

F1 even took over a block of Lincoln Road with the Williams team’s fan experience where Cafe Nexxt used to be. Racing Miami’s doing steady business selling F1 team merchandise (old-school McLaren t-shirts for $40, Red Bull pullovers for $200) and Alpine Racing having a show car from 2020, a driving simulator and a merchandise stand.


Black bags from Racing Miami hung from as many hands as any red, pink or white bags from other stores on the trendy shopping strip.

In Wynwood, Swarm Entertainment’s free racing fan fest began Thursday and runs through Sunday.

“Miami’s a party city,” Miami’s Francisco Cruz said while walking with friends on Lincoln Road, draped in Formula 1 merchandise.

“Bling, bling,” Cruz’s friend, Midtown resident Santiago Salamanca, said, “It’s going to be full and people want to be seen. There’s more action, more DJs. There’s boats, parties.


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