This past Friday we made some very last minute plans to go to the Formula 1 Miami practice! If you are from Miami, you know how typical Miami residents are. For many, this was the most IG worthy place to be this weekend. That was NOT what this was for us though! Ever since I met my husband Peter in 2008 he has been a DIE HARD F1 fan. I remember when I first met him I’d tell people he was a big fan of a type of racing that actually was not well known in the United States but was quite big around the world. I’d never heard of it before meeting him and I felt like no one else around me had either. Peter will miss a Miami Dolphins game, a Heat Game, and Yankees or Marlins game… but in all the years I have know him, I do not think he has ever missed an F1 race. I know F1 became popular in the states more recently with the Netflix Series Formula 1: Drive to Survive but Peter was actually a fan since way before that. In the 11 years we have lived together, on Sunday morning’s during racing season in our home you can expect to smell bacon and hear the humming of the F1 race cars.
F1 eventually came to the states a few years back to Austin, Texas and Peter was able to go to a race with friends. After that, he really wanted the kids and I to experience a race. I knew this so in 2020 for his birthday in January I had surprised him with a trip for all of us to see the race in Austin later that year. As everyone knows, then 2020 happened and there was no race. We were so excited when we learned the race was coming to our hometown of Miami! You can imagine our disappointment when we saw the price tag on the tickets. For a family of 4, we were looking at $4,000 for general admission. We can take a really nice trip with this amount of money! We also have two kids in private school and in extra curricular activities with costs that add up. As big of a fan of F1 as Peter is, $4,000 for a few hours is just too much for our budget.
We had eventually come to terms with the fact that we would not be attending Formula 1 Miami. When I’d bought the tickets for the race weekend and trip for Texas the whole trip, race weekend tickets, flight and hotel included, actually cost less for all four of us than attending Miami so we figured we’d try Texas again at a future date and make it a trip. Race weekend is made up of 3 days. Friday is practice, Saturday is qualifying and Sunday is race day. Last Thursday we got smart and decided to check where the price on tickets for Friday’s practice were on StubHub. We found them at about $140 per person including fees (original price was $300 per person) and decided it was a good enough deal to at least be able to go and experience the cars and track even if it was just a practice. Given our history with Formula 1, I may be biased, BUT it was worth every penny!
I do not follow Formula 1 the way Peter does, however, because he is such a big fan, it is in my life. Imagine that you see a football game or a baseball game or basketball game or some sort of sporting event on TV all the time but you have never gone to see it in person. This is what this was for me. After so many years I can say that seeing these cars in action became a bucket list item. It was honestly surreal to see it all in person. The Formula 1 cars are IMPRESSIVE. As Peter warned me as we were walking into the race- it’s not just seeing them. The cars going around the track will affect all your senses. The sounds of the engines, the smell, and they go so fast you can even feel them. When practice first started, I can honestly say I got goosebumps!
The tickets we purchased were in the ‘North Beach Grandstand’. This is actually a great spot to watch the race if you have a choice of tickets. Straightaways are not great because the cars zip right past you. At the North Beach Grandstand we were by a turn which gave us more of an opportunity to actually see the cars.
Peter was able to compare this race to Austin’s since he did have the opportunity to attend a few years ago. Interestingly enough, we were watching a show later that night on practice day coverage and Danica Patrick was one of the hosts. She used the SAME words Peter used to describe the comparison of Austin vs. Miami. Austin you go to see a RACE but Miami is an EVENT.
In true Miami fashion, I found this to be a bit of a party with a race happening in the background. At every turn there was food, drinks, live music, DJs, etc. Miami went ALL OUT on this. Just across from us at the North Beach Grand Stand there was a VIP area with a swimming pool. In the swimming pool were girls in mermaid costumes. I could not get a good photo of this, however, you cannot make this stuff up. There was also a beach area, I believe with actual sand and with cabanas. My friends, there are even gondolas to take you from one side of the track to the other!
One of the main attractions is the fake marina. Yes. They found it necessary to add a fake marina. It is one of the most Miami things I have ever seen. It’s basically a blue stage with super yachts parked into it. We noticed many foreigners attending and I guess we needed to remind any visitors we can be a little tacky!
They had all kinds of food and drinks. I find that oftentimes events like this do not have good food but they had plenty of options here and the food was pretty good quality although expensive. They had your usual burgers, chicken fingers and pizza but also had other options such as sushi, BBQ and even Hibachi! While it was packed and impossible to get a table, we were able to find a little spot to sit on the floor and enjoy our lunch picnic style.
I have a whole post brewing on the alcohol and drinks situation at sporting events in general because that is a whole other conversation. In summary though, as far as hard liquor went, they had a few bars with limited selection as well as stands with specialty cocktails throughout. Heneieken was a big sponsor so beer was accessible at every corner… sadly not the alcohol free Heneiken 0.0 but again, that’s a different conversation that you’ll have to stay tuned for if you’re interested! They also had a cigar lounge on site, Bal Harbour shops, a coffee stand, and ice cream truck.
It is truly AMAZING what they created for this track. It’s hard to believe that this is all within the Hard Rock Stadium Parking lot and we were very impressed with what they put together.
That being said, I do wish this had been done the way Austin is done and it had been about the RACE. I don’t feel this way because I didn’t think it was all cool and fun and not because we did not enjoy it. I am so happy we got to be there! I say this because once we were there, we realized why the big price tag on the tickets and the reality is, most people cannot spend thousands of dollars to attend a race. I can understand making box seats and even grandstand seats pricey but at least leave general admission affordable so that a true fan like Peter can attend the race with his family especially given that we were lucky enough it came to our hometown. I would rather pass on the fake marina, gondolas and mermaids in a swimming pool to be able to make it a family tradition to come see the race during the time it’s here.
I cannot speak for the actual race since I did not get to attend on Sunday. Hopefully one day I’ll finally be able to be at an F1 race since Austin in 2020 ultimately did not happen for us. If you are just interested in checking out the event and experiencing the cars in action, I totally recommend trying to go to the practice next time! F1 does have a contract with Miami for a few years so it will be back in the 2023 racing season! The tickets prices are much more reasonable for practice and it gives you the chance to see the cars on track and experience all the event has to offer!
If you do attend next year, be mentally prepared to walk quite a bit if you want to see all the track has to offer. Remember this is not a circular track like NASCAR and these cars are some of the fastest so they require a big track. This year it was also very hot so you may want to consider some sunscreen and make sure to stay hydrated if the weather is similar!
Thanks for visiting!