MIAMI GARDENS, FL. – Excitement is building at the Miami International Autodrome prior to the world’s best drivers taking to the track tomorrow to get this year’s FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX underway. Before Friday’s practice, the F1® teams and drivers descended on the all-new Team Village on the football field at Hard Rock Stadium for a series of entertaining activities.
The main feature of the day was an NFL / F1 crossover where a number of drivers participated in a series of football training drills, with coaching from Miami Dolphins players including linebacker Jaelan Phillips, safety Jevon Holland and defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. With the football field converted into the Team Village for this weekend, drivers were timed to find who was the fastest across five training exercises — a cone drill, agility pads, pop-up pads, ladder drills, and finally throwing a football into a net target. With a live scoreboard displayed on the big screens inside the stadium, it was Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who emerged as fastest, with a time of 21.63 seconds.
Aside from the training drills, Miami Dolphins players got the opportunity to help Red Bull with pitstop practice and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa took part in a jersey swap with reigning World Champion Max Verstappen — as both athletes compete with the number one. Earlier this afternoon, Red Bull unveiled a special one-off Miami livery they will be racing with this weekend, designed by a competition winner.
While most drivers competed in the inaugural FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX last year, four racers will be driving at the Miami International Autodrome for the first time this weekend, including rookie Logan Sargeant. Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida – just 25 minutes north of the track and Hard Rock Stadium – Sargeant can’t wait to get on track in front of his home crowd this weekend.
“It’s just amazing to be here,” said Sargeant, who drove a go-kart for the very first time just a few miles from where the Miami International Autodrome is located. “And it’s going to be nice to actually take part in my first-ever car race
in America. It’ll be pretty cool and I’m excited about experiencing the atmosphere. It’s always good in America with the fans and also to have my friends and family here. I’m excited to have that home atmosphere for the first time and to enjoy every part of the weekend.”
Mercedes driver George Russell was another competitor who is enjoying Formula 1’s second visit to Miami and the first of three races in the United States on this year’s schedule. He said: “For all of us it’s fun coming here, with the atmosphere, and staying in South Beach with the run down the coast. It’s going to be a good weekend.”
The track action commenced today on the 3.36-mile Miami International Autodrome in a series of Pirelli Hot Laps, kicked off by FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX Managing Partner and Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel who drove Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross around the newly surfaced circuit. Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel, Offensive coordinator Frank Smith and players Jevon Holland, Durham Smythe, Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips, Raekwon Davis, Emmanuel Ogbah and Alec Ingold also enjoyed some high-speed laps around the 19-turn course.
On Thursday, over 100 students from local Miami Gardens schools and colleges were given a unique opportunity to experience areas around the Miami International Autodrome during a Formula 1 race weekend. The behind-the-scenes tour for the students, who ranged from elementary to college age, was designed to provide an experience about working in motorsport.
One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team garage in which the students got a chance to get up close to the cars Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will race around the Miami International Autodrome this coming weekend. A lucky few then got to put their questions directly to the seven-time World Champion, with a Q&A hosted in the Mercedes hospitality unit on the Hard Rock Stadium field.
The participating students came from the SEEK Foundation, Miami Norland and Carol City High schools and as well as visiting the Porsche Carrera Cup North America paddock, the Formula 1 pitlane and a NASA activation, the students learnt about the different opportunities working in motorsport. Miami International Autodrome has provided paid internships to students, including those from Miami-Dade College, which has programs that specialize in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths). Vendors from a number of the minority-owned restaurants based in Miami Gardens supplied the meals for today’s events.
Round five of this year’s FIA Formula 1 World Championship gets underway with the two practice sessions on Friday, followed by qualifying on Saturday and the 57-lap race on Sunday afternoon.
Paola Argueta – Miami Dolphins communications contributed to this column