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10 things to watch for at Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix

Formula 1 heads to the USA for the third ever Miami Grand Prix, and these are the top ten things you need to watch out for.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19 leads at the start

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

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Miami will host its third ever F1 event in May and there is plenty to watch out for as the sport heads to US shores for the first of three visits this season. Here are 10 things you should look out for, as well as an opportunity to attend the Miami Grand Prix in person with MoneyGram.

1. Will Verstappen finally claim pole position?

Max Verstappen may have won and set the fastest lap in both Miami races so far, but he has never started from pole. In 2022, a mistake in qualifying left him third on the grid and he had to pass both Ferraris to get to the front. In 2023, he was fastest in Q1 and Q2 but failed to set a time in Q3 after a red flag stopped the session. That left him ninth on the grid, but he was able to pass everyone ahead of him. After an impressive run of poles this season, however, it could be third time lucky for the Red Bull driver in Miami.

2. Sporting some sporting lids

Many of the drivers create special helmet liveries for this event and there is sure to be plenty more unique designs this year – but some of the previous efforts will be hard to beat. There is always plenty of palm trees, but the most notable creations so far have been three sports-themed lids, with Alex Albon wearing a golf ball last year and Lando Norris sporting a basketball and a beachball in the past two events. So, what will it be this time…perhaps a baseball?

3. Star-Spangled special

If there is one place where the national anthem takes center stage it is America, and this time the Star-Spangled Banner will be sung by six-time Grammy Award winner Marc Anthony. Expect something a little different, because the organizers have promised the singer, who is credited with more than 107 Billboard chart number one hits, will “bring his own flair” to the special moment. The first race saw five-time Latin Grammy Award winner Luis Fonsi gave his take on the anthem while last year it was another Puerto Rican singer, Gale, on the mic. Anthony, like those who have gone before him, was selected due to his influence on Hispanic culture.

4. Double the drama as sprint comes to town

Two wins are up for grabs in Miami this year after it was named as one of the six Sprint race hosts for 2024. The Saturday Sprint will run for 100km (62.14 miles) – around one-third a grand prix distance – with no pit stops and eight points awarded for the winner, down to one point for eighth. The other Sprint events are in China, Austria, Austin, Brazil and Qatar.

5. F1’s future female stars

Miami will see the F1 Academy return to the US, with the second round of the all-female feeder series on the bill. The championship involves cars that are supported by each of the F1 teams and Miami represents the only opportunity for fans to see the women drivers racing on American soil. There are two Americans on the grid chasing success, with Lia Block in the Williams and Chloe Chambers, who finished fourth in the season-opening race in Jeddah and is chasing more points driving for Campos Racing supported by MoneyGram Haas F1 Team.

6. Supercar culture

Some of the world’s most spectacular supercars will join the F1 line-up in Miami as part of a live show that culminates in an auction by Bonhams Cars. The show reflects the car culture of Miami and wider South Florida region, and will see an impressive collection of around 25 collector cars showcased around the Miami Campus before being driven on to the racetrack for the auction, which will take place right in front of the podium.

7. Home hopes to end 35-year wait for US driver

This will be the first of three home races for MoneyGram Haas F1 Team, with drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen in the hunt for points – the Dane finished 10th here last year, the third time the team has scored points in the US. It is also a big event for Williams driver Logan Sargeant. The Florida-born driver, who is in his second season of F1, returns to his home State on a mission – as a top-10 finish would end a 35-year wait for a US driver to score points on home soil. The last time that happened was in 1989, when Eddie Cheever actually finished on the podium after taking third place at Phoenix in his Arrows.

8. Shuffling the timings

The Miami race is a daytime event, which makes it late afternoon and evening viewing for fans across the pond. The Saturday sprint will run at midday local time, which makes it a 5pm start in the UK and 6pm in Europe. Qualifying begins four hours later, at 4pm local time, which is 9pm in the UK and 10pm in Europe, and the lights go out for the main event at the same 4pm slot on the Sunday.

9. Hitting the wall

The walls are close in Miami and with a smooth track surface and high temperatures, tires can quickly overheat and lose grip. Moving off line makes things even worse, so mistakes can be costly. In the first Miami race weekend both Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon both suffered heavy crashes at Turn 13 during practice, while last year Leclerc hit the wall twice at Turn 7 - once in practice and again in qualifying. In 2022, there was one Safety Car and one Virtual Safety Car period, while in 2023 there was a messy first lap but no Safety Car periods at all. Expect more dramas again this time.

10. Lap record

The race lap record around Miami in 2022 was set by Max Verstappen at 1m31.361s but he shattered that last year with a 1m29.709s lap. Both times were set in the last three laps of the race, so keep an eye out late on this year to see if anyone can go better. The fastest ever lap around the circuit is currently held by Sergio Perez, whose pole position time in 2023 was 1m26.841s.

Win tickets

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