Travel Diary: F1 Miami
Miami’s Inaugural F1 Grand Prix Weekend
If ever there was a time to visit Miami, it was when 300,000-plus F1 fans attended Miami’s inaugural Grand Prix Weekend. Along with a group of 20 Exclusive Resorts Members, Moni Szabolcs, the Club’s Experience Collection Director, enjoyed an action-packed event. Here, she recounts top highlights and happenings of the weekend.
Day 1 – Thursday, May 5th, 2022
Members arrived at the JW Marriott Marquis in high spirits. The hotel is the place to see and be seen during F1 Miami. Fusing sophistication, design, art, fashion, and technology — and located in the heart of downtown Miami — the JW Marriott Marquis Miami has become the city’s arts and culture hub.
Our Members weekend festivities kicked off with a dinner at Zuma, a Miami hotspot serving Japanese cuisine. After enjoying a welcome cocktail, Members were surprised with a meet-and-greet from Martin Brundle, former F1 driver and current SkySports commentator and analyst. Martin impressed us with stories of his racing days with the late Ayrton Senna, going wheel-to-wheel with Michael Schumacher, his thoughts on today’s aspiring racers, and what it takes to be a champion. Afterward, we enjoyed a multi-course dinner of fresh sashimi, filet mignon, and dessert. We all went to bed, anticipating the next three days of racing action.
Day 2 – Friday, May 6th, 2022
First day at the track! Private transportation escorted the group in three luxury vans to the Miami International Autodrome’s Hard Rock Stadium — home of the Miami Dolphins and the F1 race — for the first two practice sessions.
All the action was viewed from The 72 Club, operated by Steve Ross (owner of the Miami Dolphins and F1 stadium). The invite-only club spared no expense and drew a who’s who of Miami and the F1 racing world. Throughout the weekend, guests of the 72 Club enjoyed gourmet food and beverages inspired by Miami’s international cuisine.
We watched both practice sessions, and when there was a break in the racing, we explored the Miami campus. The 3.6-mile racetrack featured various areas to watch the race, listen to live DJs, hang out at “the beach,” and experience luxury yachts and sports cars on display — it was designed to be a mini-Miami and fit the bill.
Day 3 – Saturday, May 7th, 2022
Saturday, we got off to an early start to catch the third practice session before the all-important qualifying session. In Formula 1, qualifying is an action-packed, one-hour event that determines the order in which the 20 drivers start the race the following day. The Ferraris were the cars to beat. Championship leader Charles LeClerc set pole position, qualifying with the fastest overall time, followed by his Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz, Jr. The 2021 world championship title winner, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, came in third. Our group consisted of a variety of LeClerc, Sainz, and Verstappen fans, so it was fun to watch Members debate on who is the superior driver.
On Saturday evening, we were treated to a six-course Italian dinner at Bellini — a Cipriani restaurant located in Coconut Grove.
Day 4 – Sunday, May 8th, 2022
RACE day, and Mother’s Day! All the women on the trip (also all mothers) were gifted a vase of tulips – a festive way to kickstart a day of celebration. Then it was off to the track. It was a busier day in the stadium and Members appreciated the privacy of their own space.
When the race began, the excitement was palpable. The 72 Club overlooks the straight before turn 4, and it was thrilling to see the gap widen or close each lap between Charles LeClerc and Max Verstappen. We heard the commentary on big-screen TVs in our outdoor viewing area. Ultimately, Max Verstappen was victorious!
Day 5 – Monday, May 9th, 2022
On our final day, Members took private airport transportation and departed with unique race memories. Until next year, Miami.