F1 hosted its inaugural Miami Grand Prix this past weekend, attracting a sell-out crowd and hosting big-name celebrities at a colorful new event for the series.
This is the latest sign of F1 growth in the United States, which looks set to continue next year with the addition of the Las Vegas Grand Prix. The race will run on Saturday night and will use part of the famous Strip for the circuit.
Monaco is commonly known as the ‘jewel in the crown’ for F1, but Miami is considered to be setting a new benchmark for the series in terms of overall event, which has drawn many comparisons to the Super Bowl.
But reigning F1 world champion Verstappen felt that the success of new events would not go far in the history of a race like Monaco.
“I don’t think you can replace Monaco,” Verstappen said last week in Miami.
“Monaco has such a history, and of course it takes time to build on that. And it’s also different in Monaco, there’s a lot more space here and the whole atmosphere is different.
“It’s also a different kind of culture, which it’s nice to have, because it’s very boring to drive every time [somewhere with] the same culture.
“You have to find a middle ground between these types [events in Miami]Monaco and, of course, a permanent race track. ”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, and Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
Some uncertainty remains over Monaco’s future due to its lack of a contract at the end of this season. The career has traditionally seen its hosting fee waived as part of its agreement, but talks are continuing about what a new contract might look like.
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon echoed Verstappen’s thoughts in Monaco, citing the lack of overtaking as part of the unique challenge posed by the railroad.
“Monaco is very special, it also has a history behind it, and it’s a form of racing that you don’t have anywhere else,” Ocon said.
“You really have to qualify and the race is very hard to overtake or you have to take a risk. So for us, it’s really different. ”
But Ocon acknowledged that seeing F1 growth in the United States is encouraging, making him happy to see what the future holds in the market.
“Coming to the States, seeing how we’re welcomed here, it’s great, it’s amazing and we’ve seen how the sport has grown,” Ocon said.
“Miami, Las Vegas, all these cities, our dream is to come here. So yes, I can’t wait to discover what the US has left for us. “