Could Miami Grand Prix move to night? And Mahomes, Tom Cruise, more celebs flock to race
The first two years of the Miami Grand Prix have been a rousing success for both Formula One and the Dolphins, but both parties are already thinking about ways to improve the race and keep the event fresh.
One possibility could be following the lead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which will run its inaugural race in November, and racing at night.
“We’ve had some discussions about potentially doing that,” said Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel, who’s also a managing partner for the Miami Grand Prix.
Each of the first two Miami Grands Prix have started in the afternoon, with temperatures hotter than 80 degrees.
“Obviously at this time of year, the weather’s a little unpredictable,” Garfinkel said. “This year is pretty nice so far, and the breezes have helped a lot, but last year was unseasonably hot.”
Max Verstappen celebrates win at Miami GP with Dan Marino as F1 finds new home in Florida
Four of the 23 races in the 2023 Formula One World Championship are held at night: the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the Singapore Grand Prix and the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
The biggest obstacle in the way of the Miami Grand Prix (GP) joining the list is Florida’s placement in the Eastern Time Zone, which would make a night race difficult to watch for European audiences.
“There are a lot of factors that go into that, with F1 and television, so we have to weigh all those things up,” Garfinkel said, “but we are certainly open-minded.”
Either way, the Miami GP has established itself as a valuable piece of the Dolphins’ and Hard Rock Stadium’s portfolio. The event sold out for the second straight year and about 270,000 spectators expected to filter through by the end of the weekend.
The event, Garfinkel said, is intentionally depressing ticket sales to ensure a better experience for fans in attendance.
“We probably could have sold 150,000 tickets based on the demand and the room we have here,” he said, “but I want everyone to have a great experience.”
Miami Dolphins, Formula One collide
Near the entrance to the paddock club a few hours before racing began, Garfinkel and Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross embraced with a group of their players who were there to watch the grand prix.
The partnership between the Dolphins and Formula One (F1) has been a good one. On Thursday, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa helped put drivers through a football-style combine inside the stadium and linebacker Jaelan Phillips hopped in the passenger seat as England’s George Russell, who drives the No. 63 car for Mercedes-Benz in Formula One, sped around the Miami International Autodrome in a Mercedes-AMG GT supercar.
On Saturday, Phillips, fellow linebacker Bradley Chubb, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard and coach Mike McDaniel were all in Miami Gardens for the grand prix — the only one held on the grounds of an NFL stadium.
Celebrities flock to Miami GP
The inaugural Miami GP was one of the hottest tickets in the sporting world last year and Year 2 was no different. For proof, take a peak at the list of celebrities in attendance:
▪ Actor Vin Diesel and rapper Ludacris, two of the stars of “Fast X,” were fittingly there to watch the racing.
▪ Rapper Queen Latifah held court with everyone from tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams, to Magic forward Paolo Banchero.
▪ Colombian singers J Balvin and Maluma drew probably the biggest crowds of excited onlookers when they embraced outside the Mercedes-Benz garage.
▪ Speaking of Banchero, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was also in attendance, and it didn’t make things too confusing for Sky Sports’ Martin Brundle, who mistakenly introduced Banchero as Mahomes during the broadcast of the 2022 Miami Grand Prix. Brundle, who raced in F1 in the 1980s and 1990s, got his redemption this year.
▪ Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was another high-profile NFL player in attendance.
▪ DJ Khaled was there because it was an event in Miami-Dade County, so he’s basically required to. He was also at the Heat game Saturday.
▪ Jake Paul, the notorious social media personality turned boxer, spent much of the weekend at the track, also taking a quick break out of the festivities to watch the Heat rout the Knicks, 105-86, on Saturday.
▪ Tennis legend Roger Federer and drew gawking onlookers, and spent some time with tennis player Juan Martin del Potro, who has found the sweet spot of being famous enough for athletes to be excited about his presence without fans swarming him.
▪ Billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, a Miami native, both spent time in the pits throughout the weekend, as did actor Tom Cruise. No word if Cruise is eyeing a career in Formula racing, but it’s impossible to put it past him.