Daily Column – 7th May 2022

Few brands have grown in popularity as much as Formula 1 and Miami in the last two years. The two are getting together this weekend for what promises to be a bacchanal of whiskey, gasoline, and probably not enough suntan lotion.

The Miami Grand Prix takes place tomorrow, marking the first time an F1 event has been hosted in the city. And the timing couldn’t be better: American interest in the racing league, which has traditionally favoured Europeans and South Americans, has never been higher.

In 2021, racing TV ratings in the United States increased by 54% over the previous year.

In addition, viewership for the first two races of this year was up 47% from 2021.

Many blame Netflix’s behind-the-scenes docuseries Drive to Survive for the increase in American fandom, which has made drivers like Max Verstappen household names and given your pal the confidence to gripe about Mercedes’ “porpoising” troubles after only two episodes.

Another important element was Liberty Media’s acquisition of Formula One in 2017, which has converted the racing championship into a drama-filled, made-for-TV spectacle that Americans can’t get enough of.

In terms of spectacle…

The race itself will be very Miami, which means that not everything you see will be true. The organisers built a harbour inside the track, but the “water” is really a slapped-on-the-ground design.

However, the hoopla is genuine. The Grand Prix is predicted to attract more than 300,000 visitors, outpacing the Super Bowl in 2020 and the annual Art Basel festival in terms of travel and spending. A suite at some Miami hotels costs more than $100,000 per night. Crypto.com is the race’s title sponsor, which will come as a complete shock to you.

There is some suspense surrounding the race. If the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the sport’s governing body, implements its restriction on drivers wearing jewellery while driving, Lewis Hamilton, the sport’s brightest star, has said he may skip the Grand Prix.

Looking forward…

If you thought the Miami Grand Prix will be a party, wait until you hear about the newest Formula One race, which will take place in 2023 in Las Vegas, with a piece of the track placed on the Strip. With Vegas on the calendar, the United States will host more Formula One races in a single year than any other country.

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