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Junior shares Miami Grand Prix experience
May 16, 2023
The Formula One Miami Grand Prix was held between Friday, May 5 and Sunday, May 7 at the Miami International Autodrome and I was one of the many spectators. This was probably the most fun I’ve ever had at a sporting event and it was three days long.The Miami GP was different from anything I’ve ever been to in the past. There is constant action around the track, and when you don’t want to be in your seats, there’s plenty of things to do.
Most F1 races will have an option for transportation to the track, and I tried two of them. On Friday and Sunday, I took the Brightline, a privately owned train company, from Boca Raton, to Aventura station, where F1 had shuttles arranged for every passenger to be taken to the track. I drove to the racetrack on Saturday. There’s parking near the stadium, but the closest lots are reserved in advance, and judging by the price of regular parking, the closest lots would be hundreds of dollars. People open up their yards and driveways for parking near the stadium, if you choose not to pay in advance. Either way, you’re going to have to walk at least half a mile to the nearest gate to the track.
What you do for that day really depends on what time you get there. On Friday, there weren’t any races or practice sessions for the first couple of hours that I was there, so I walked around the track to the stores, fan experiences, and food trucks around the track. One of the first things I did was a simulator. F1 Esports always brings some professional style simulator setups that have you strapped in like an actual F1 car. There’s a lot of paid fan experiences too, if you have the money. Things like tack tours and hot laps are open to the public, but those extras can cost upwards of $15,000. Most of the fan experiences are free, but the ones that aren’t cost thousands of dollars.
For food, F1 brings in local food vendors and trucks. The best thing I had was a buffalo chicken grilled cheese sandwich. It was pretty good. On an event-style food truck food scale, I’d give it a 9/10. The other food I got was partly a mistake. I knew I could have done better, but instead, I got the food closest to my stands. One was a personal pizza, I’ll give it a 5/10, just painfully mediocre. The other was a burger from the concessions at Hard Rock stadium. It was better than mediocre, but not super great, but what do you expect from a stadium? The mediocre food wasn’t the fault of the event, there were plenty of options, but I made the mistake of not going out of my way to get the best food.
At every race, the most challenging thing is getting to your seats. The area of the event is so big, and there’s so many people, that before every race or practice session, you’re going to want to start heading to your seats at least 30 minutes before the start of the session.
So, what do you bring to a race? I had a clear 6x12x6 inch backpack, where I put a phone charger, noise-canceling headphones, a water bottle, and sunscreen. Those are all the things you’ll need at a race, but leave room because you’ll most likely end up buying a hat or shirt from the merch stands around the track.
My seats were in the south beach turn 11 grandstands. I wanted these seats because they were in an overtaking zone for the cars, where they slow down from 200 mph to about 50, and turn in before a long turn 12 and 13, which is great to watch overtaking.
Now, to the race. The stands were as packed as I’ve seen them. F1 sets up these large TV screens facing the grandstands so you can watch the action going on at the other places on the track. There was a lot of overtaking from where I was sitting, and the action around the track was easy to watch on the screen. For the second year in a row, the winner of the 57-lap race was Max Verstappen.
These races are like a big three day party mixed with a sporting event. It’s with the trip and is a once in a lifetime experience. If you’re not into F1, it’s still worth it. This was the most exciting sporting event I’ve ever been to. It’s worth the money and travel, and I hope I get the opportunity to do it again.