Miami F1 Organizers in ‘Discussions’ Over Potential Switch to Night Race
With Las Vegas coming online this year, Miami is looking for ways to ease the heat and perhaps even stay relevant.
Some of Formula 1's most glamorous races are held at night; Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and later this year, Las Vegas. And with Liberty Media's current infatuation with celebrity-clad, concert-hosting, Super Bowl-like F1 races, it's no surprise that Miami race organizers claim to be in talks about a potential switch to a night race. This would not only help with the blazing Florida temperatures but give the race equal footing with Las Vegas—at least in terms of glitz and glamour.
Speaking to the media ahead of Sunday's race, Miami GP managing partner Tom Garfinkel said that a night race was being evaluated, as reported by Motorsport.com.
"We've had some discussions about potentially doing that," said Garfinkel. "Obviously at this time of year, the weather's a little unpredictable. This year is pretty nice so far, and the breezes have helped a lot, but last year was unseasonably hot.
"But there's a lot of factors that go into that [decision to become a night race], with F1 and television and everything else. So, we've got to weigh all those things. But we're certainly open-minded to it," he added.
One of the benefits of holding the Miami race at night would be more enjoyable weather. As someone who was there for the inaugural race in 2022, I can attest to the unbearable temperatures. The heat and humidity were further exacerbated by the track grounds essentially being a parking lot bigger than some European countries. If organizers could curb this, it would unlock an even bigger potential to hike up attendance, outdoor activities, VIP hospitality opportunities—y'know, the stuff that makes them money.
Of course, the biggest obstacle between the current Miami GP format and it becoming a night race is Europe. With F1 always keeping its home TV audience a priority, moving the race to Sunday night would rock the boat in ways that not even Australian or Middle Eastern races do. With most of Europe being five to six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the U.S., hosting a race at 7 p.m. Sunday would mean people in London would have to tune in at midnight, while Rome would have to wait until 1 a.m. Monday.
A possible solution would be to move the race to Saturday night, which would certainly be a drastic change for the Miami circus, given how many satellite events (car companies, nightlife, sponsor activations, etc.) rely on the established Friday-Sunday format.
"We're not at a place where we're making a decision right now. I think we're having discussions about if we did it, and what would it look like," said Garfinkel according to Motorsport.com.
Either way, the second running of the Miami GP was interesting and I noticed some peculiar bits. For starters, track grounds and even some grandstands did not look full on race day—at least not on TV. Last year, you could barely walk through the place. Garfinkel claims that paths, bridges, and other common areas were improved to help with this, so maybe he's right. Or maybe he's not? Also, it appears that F1 drivers are really just getting sick of the over-the-top driver intros that American race organizers insist on putting together. They're like a weird mix of NASCAR, NFL, and WWE. Here's to hoping that ends soon.
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