Big crowds, live shows and celebrities at every corner, Formula One’s long-awaited debut at the Miami International Autodrome was certainly one to remember for team crews and drivers alike.
The paddock was immersed in a Super Bowl atmosphere, with the likes of Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Tom Brady and even former first lady Michele Obama spotted in the garages.
And the circuit was no less, from the infamous fake marina to the beach club with mermaids in pools, sand and cabanas placed in the area around turns 11, 12 and 13.
“The event was spectacular, the city is totally hyped around Formula 1, the fans support is great,” commented Toto Wolff. “Honestly, I’ve never been in a race that created such a buzz in a place, an interest like Miami this time around. You can’t cross the paddock because there are so many people and that’s good. I think we need to be happy that we have such a strong support.”
A support that was clearly felt by the McLaren’s crew as well, as explained by Team Principal Andreas Seidl who was flabbergasted himself by the Florida spirit.
“It was a crazy weekend here. The build up was very very special, something I had never experienced in my 20 years of motorsport,” he said.
“It’s just great to see how Formula 1 is blooming over here, not just in Austin but also here. It’s just another confirmation that Formula 1 is going in a very good direction.”
“Team members engaging with the fans, seeing McLaren fans here at the track or even in the city, it makes you really proud to be part of the team. It’s something very very special, we appreciate it a lot.”
The hype around the Miami weekend seems to have left Red Bull quite impressed as well.
“It’s been great the reception that we’ve had, the passion that there’s been here,” said Horner.
“The interest in Formula 1 is sky-high, you can see it by the reception that we got. Americans certainly know how to host an event, they’ve done a really good job with that. I think it was a good enough race to get everyone excited.”
On the trackside, however, there are some improvements to make, particularly regarding the components of the asphalt. The surface of the circuit was in fact criticised by the drivers, who found it difficult to overtake in certain spots as the offline grip quickly deteriorated lap by lap due to the small stones rising up from it.
“You can say what you want, it was a first. Sometimes tracks get it wrong, this one didn’t get it wrong,” commented Wolff on the matter.
“We had two good DRS zones and even the track breaking at Turn 17, as an example, gave good racing. It was very difficult to brake into Turn 17: if you lost the line, then obviously you lost a position or two.”
“It’s clear the drivers will say that is not optimal, but for racing and for entertainment it is great stuff. It’s almost like a gravel bed you need to put in there to make exciting action. All in all, I would say for a first, nine out of ten.”