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The Future of F1: Miami or Monaco?

“The success of Miami’s inaugural Grand Prix this month was a sign of what new Formula 1 events may look like, such as providing weekend-long entertainment with concerts.“ —Luke Smith, The New York Times

“F1 used to be a gentleman’s sport. Now its warfare.” —Anonymous former F1 team manager

In early May, Turtle Garage attended the inaugural F1 race in Miami. The event was a spectacle and sure to gain more momentum as F1 breaks further into the crowded American sports calendar. The Austin GP and Las Vegas GP (coming in 2023) are two more American races now on the global F1 schedule. Without a doubt, F1 is taking off in America. Most experts agree that the recent surge in F1’s popularity is closely related to the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive. But the sport also has all the ingredients that attract spectators and sponsors—politics, drama, intrigue, money, competition, and, of course, the battle between man and machine.

The Miami F1 race was a 72-hour dinner/dance party and concert with an F1 race in the background. This new race represents the future of F1—it’s not merely a car race; it’s an entertainment-filled three-day social event. The atmosphere was terrific on track and off, and the side events were spectacular if not decadent. There was a private concert at the DAER nightclub at the Hard Rock hotel. People sailed on Italian yachts to exclusive dinner parties. Gourmet food and champagne flooded luxury boxes on the finish line. Miami 2022 felt like the new Roaring 20s. 

This inaugural race was a sporting event and social scene akin to a merger between the Kentucky Derby and Miami Art Basel. So many attendees were there to be seen, and they knew little about Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen or the myriad of complexities behind F1 racing.

The weekend was not without flaws. There were start-up pains and logistical challenges at the event (the food service at the Paddock Club had supply problems on Friday, prompting Mercedes-AMG to find another venue to entertain their guests). But overall, Miami F1 was a smashing success, and it will be bigger and better next year.

Below are some photos from our weekend. Many thanks to our hosts Gainbridge and Dan and Cassidy Towriss and Bill Shelton.

At the pit lane Miami F1 with Blythe Masters

Blythe with Jackie Stewart

Charles Leclerc takes the time to autograph a shirt for a young fan

The Paddock Club was spectacular despite some logistics and food issues on the first day

There was plenty of interesting things to see at Miami F1–a green F1 car!

In the pits at Miami with Alfa Romeo

Haas F1 Team Mission Control

The F1 pit of Alfa Romeo

In the pits

The pit stop practice sessions were particularly fun to watch—practice makes perfect!

In light of the recent success of the Miami F1, the following New York Times well outlines the future of the Monaco Grand Prix given its rich history and looming contract expiry with Formula 1.

The New York Times

Since the start of the Formula 1 world championship in 1950, the Monaco Grand Prix has stood as one of its most glamorous and famous races.

With roots dating from 1929 and the early days of Grand Prix racing, the streets of the principality have long been Formula 1’s ultimate driving challenge. Off-track, the yachts and parties have made Monaco the place to be seen.

But as Formula 1’s calendar expands to new markets, welcoming dazzling additions such as Miami and, in 2023, Las Vegas, Monaco’s future is suddenly not assured as its contract expires at the end of the year. Formula 1 is also contractually limited to 24 races per season, meaning some events would need to make way for new ones.

“Monaco is definitely a crown jewel, it’s been around for a super long time,” said Zak Brown, the chief executive of McLaren Racing. “They’ve always had a very favorable commercial deal.

“We accommodate Monaco because of its heritage and because of its history, that’s it,” Horner said. “And I think that you’ve got to evolve. If you stand still, then you’re going backwards, and I think that applies to all aspects of the sport.”

The success of Miami’s inaugural Grand Prix this month was a sign of what new Formula 1 events may look like, such as providing weekend-long entertainment with concerts.

It’s not only new tracks that are focusing on the wider event. Despite being a traditional racing circuit built in 1948, Zandvoort in the Netherlands returned to the calendar last year to huge acclaim because of its off-track festivities and electric atmosphere.

Frédéric Vasseur, the team principal of Alfa Romeo, thought Zandvoort marked a “big change” for Formula 1. “All events are going in this direction, and everybody will have to follow the move,” he said. “It’s not just the show, but everything else around the Grand Prix. And I think Monaco will have to do the same.”

The racing in Monaco has also faced scrutiny. The track has been largely unchanged over the past 50 years, yet Formula 1 cars have evolved considerably in that time. The current generation of cars is wider and heavier than ever, making it hard for them to pass one another around the narrow streets. It often leads to boring races.

“I can’t deny that the race is definitely not as exciting as some others,” said the AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly of France. “Moving from 1.8-meter-wide [about six feet] cars to two meters, it clearly didn’t help, because you’re increasing like 40 centimeters when you’re side by side.”

Formula 1 said last year that it would evaluate what, if any, changes could be made to the Monaco track to improve the racing. But with the existing buildings and infrastructure, making changes would be difficult, if not impossible. “I’m not too sure they want to move buildings back and things like that,” Gasly said.

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