As F1 heads to the US for the first of three Grand Prix in 2023, we start off with arguably the worst of the bunch at Miami. Although this race is one of the newer additions to the F1 calendar it failed to impress last year leaving many fans disappointed in the lack of action on track, the excessive gimmicks off track and the overall style over substance feel that encapsulated the weekend. Following on from the lackluster sprint weekend that we recently saw at Baku, will Miami be able to offer any solace to what is starting to look like a predictably boring season ahead of us? Personally I don’t think so, but who know it may have some surprises in store.
If we go back to 8th May 2022 the podium is not too dissimilar from what we would expect to see this season, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix saw Verstappen take the podium and Ferrari fill out the final two steps. When looking back at last year’s race it’s proved a difficult task to make it sound even remotely interesting as the most memorable part of the weekend was probably the ongoing jokes surrounding the fake marina. If we pick out the key moments from the actual Grand Prix it consisted of Verstappen domination as he overtook Sainz on lap 1 at the first corner and only took a further 8 laps to catch Leclerc, from there on out he drove off into the distance to take the win. There were a few collisions between Alonso and Hamilton, Alonso and Gasly, Norris and Gasly and finally Vettel and Schumacher on lap 53. Alonso was handed a 5 second penalty and a safety car was brought out following the Gasly-Norris collision but even that failed to provide any sort of entertainment to a weekend that seemed as though it would never end.
I’m sure it will come as no surprise that the excitement for Miami is practically non-existent following what we saw last year, but let’s take a look at predictions for this weekend as, whilst they may still be predictable, I do think they could slightly differ from the race results of 2022. Based on the performances that we’ve seen this year I think if Checo is able to keep up his street circuit performances he may just manage to pip Verstappen to the post considering the momentum that he will be carrying in to this weekend. Both Redbull’s will undoubtedly be on for a podium finish unless something goes catastrophically wrong but I don’t think Ferrari will be joining them on the podium this year. Given the conditions of Miami I think it’s more likely that Alonso will make a return to the podium after his brief departure in Baku and the Ferrari’s will end up closer to the Mercedes than the teams ahead. With some teams having brought upgrades to Baku we may get a better look at where they stand as Baku is a bit on an outlier and probably didn’t give us the best look at which teams have actually benefited from their upgrades and exactly how much they’ve benefited in relation to where they started in 2023.
So, what does the future of the Miami Grand Prix look like? From flooding to low ticket sales, there seems to be an endless list of problems linked to the Miami Grand Prix, a few teething problems were to be expected, but when it comes to Miami it looks as though the cons heavily outweigh the pros at the moment. Weeks before the race was due to take place, social media was flooded with pictures of the track under water leaving many to question if the weekend would even go ahead, although this is no longer the case, it does still leave the unanswered question of whether this will become an annual problem that becomes increasingly worse. If we do continue to race at Miami, F1 will need to a find a way to make this race more enticing for the average fan as it looks as though moving tickets for the race has already become a problem. It’s been reported that discounted tickets are being heavily pushed in order to ensure that they can sell any tickets at all for the race and this is not the last of their problems. Last year we saw Sainz and Ocon complain about the layout of the track as they both crashed into the concrete barrier and reported the danger that this posed to the drivers, although minor track changes have been made this year, it doesn’t looks as though all of the feedback has been taken on board.
We don’t know how these changes will impact the race this year so we’ll just have to wait and see, but it’s not looking promising.