F1 Miami GP Featured A-Listers, Football Helmets and Even a Little Baseball

The Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix was brief on-track drama, but highly exciting and moving off-track.

Here are some things you might have missed from South Florida.”

Leclerc surprised by baseball experience

The Ferrari drivers had different sporting experiences during the setup in Miami. Charles Leclerc professed his love for American culture and told stories car week that the country “isn’t afraid to do something of its own” with the Miami GP. He also had a trip to the Miami Marlins game and threw a few pitches: “It was fun, I really enjoyed it, and the catch is a lot harder than I thought it would be!”

On race day, Leclerc also had a special guest for his usual warm-up by messing around with a soccer ball – none other than David Beckham briefly replaced Leclerc’s coach by kicking around with Leclerc.

Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz was heavily invested in Real Madrid’s Champions League game last Wednesday but regretted: “I was in the middle of a shell event and I had to miss those five minutes of chaos!” he said, referring to his team , which turned the tie against Manchester City into an extraordinary one.

Geri Horner (left) and Serena Williams inspect the paddock in Miami.

Mark ThompsonGetty Images

Lots of A-listers

Miami would always be at the top of the celebrity list. The paddock was crowded for most of Saturday and Sunday making even short walks problematic, while the Sunday grid was congested.

Among the weekend’s attendees were Michelle Obama, Michael Douglas, Bad Bunny, Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, Karlie Kross, Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union, Eileen Gu, Juan Martin del Potro, Matt Damon, Dan Marino, David Beckham and Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, DJ Khaled, Pharrell, Venus and Serena Williams, James Corden, Paris Hilton, Patrick Mahomes and Paolo Banchero.

From a motorsport perspective, ex-F1 legends – notably Mario Andretti, Mika Häkkinen and Jenson Button – were scattered around the paddock, as was a plethora of IndyCar racers, some of whom were ex-F1 racers hanging out with old friends.

“The helmet we had on the podium,” said race winner Max Verstappen, referring to the NFL-inspired lid, “we needed that in the paddock!”

Vettel: Act now or swim later

miami f1 grand prix preview

Sebastian Vettel makes his point in Miami.

Clive Mason – Formula 1Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel’s proactivity on societal issues has been evident in recent years as he has launched bee conservation projects in his native Germany, trying to understand waste management in England while promoting messages related to equality and diversity.

At the opening party in Miami, Vettel was the only rider not wearing a team kit as he donned a t-shirt that read “Miami 2060 – First Race Underwater” along with a cartoon of a helmeted rider wearing a snorkel, with the further message “Act Now or swim later.”

Miami — and its surrounding region — faces chronic flooding threats as sea levels rise. Vettel also wore a helmet throughout the race weekend that carried the same message while, as he has done since the opening lap, the German stripe on his helmet has been replaced with the blue and yellow of Ukraine.

Vettel is said to be a guest this Thursday question timea show broadcast by the BBC in the UK, usually dealing with political and social issues, offering another opportunity to show his eloquence and understanding of global issues.

Andretti tries to drum up support

Michael Andretti was in the Miami paddock struggling to garner support for his future 2024 Formula One team.

Work at the Indianapolis facility continues alongside a base in the UK while Andretti waits to hear if his entry gets the green light. At this stage, the biggest setback comes from some of the other Formula 1 teams, who worry about the financial implications of expanding the grid beyond the current 10 entrants, thereby losing a lucrative slice of the pie – even with the anti-dilution Fee of $200 million.

Andretti has great support behind his project and is trying to convince existing participants that his intended team will approach Formula 1 the right way and will add and not subtract from the existing stake. Alpine – which announces itself as Andretti’s engine partner and technical collaborator – is obviously supportive, as is McLaren, whose CEO Zak Brown has a stake in Walkinshaw Andretti United in the Australian Supercars series.

The other teams are lukewarm at best and downright negative at worst. It may take some time to resolve this situation.

miami f1 grand prix preview

Colton Herta was in the paddock in Miami ahead of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Clive Mason – Formula 1Getty Images

Herta begins McLaren journey

IndyCar leader Colton Herta was assimilated with McLaren in Miami ahead of his scheduled run in the team’s 2021 car later this year.

Herta was linked with an Alfa Romeo seat when Andretti announced a majority stake in that team – which fell through last October – and again he was chosen as the candidate of choice when Andretti’s attempts to break into the Formula 1 grid for 2024 prove successful. An exact timetable for Herta at McLaren has yet to be outlined but he has been involved with the team in Miami to get a further understanding of how the team works and will soon have a seat in Woking doing simulator runs.

“It’s great for us to test young drivers who we believe have talent and deserve a test like this and Colton is definitely one of them,” said McLaren boss Andreas Seidl. “The results he produces at IndyCar speak for themselves. Now we are preparing him for this test. Jumping into a Formula 1 car is a big challenge for a number of reasons, the physical side and the speed of these cars.”

Formula 1 regulations require each team to field one driver with no racing experience during two FP1 sessions this year and it has been suggested that Herta and Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward are candidates for these rounds.

F1 Miami Grand Prix Final Practice

American Formula 1 hopeful Logan Sargeant was in Miami this weekend.

Dan Istitene – Formula 1Getty Images

Young American F1 hopefuls are doing the rounds

Formula 1 has been without a US driver since 2015 and while Herta speculation rumbled around, other US talents were also at play in Miami.

Young Red Bull driver Jak Crawford, fresh from back-to-back Formula 3 podiums, has had a weekend to integrate with the team as part of his driver development, while Floridian Logan Sargeant is dividing his duties in Formula 2 and Williams with Williams was present also took part in some TV coverage.

Haas, on the other hand, had Kyffin Simpson in the garage all weekend. Simpson, 17, of dual American-Barbadian citizenship, won the Formula Regional Americas Championship last year and is currently competing in Indy Lights.

Audi, Porsche could bolster German GP hopes

The possible entry of the VW brands Audi and Porsche could increase the chances of a return of Formula 1 to Germany.

The country was a mainstay on the Formula 1 calendar but struggled financially in the 2010s, missing in 2015 and 2017 and finally falling off schedule after 2020. Audi and Porsche poised to enter Formula 1 under new engine regulations in 2026 Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali has hinted that this could be good news for the German Grand Prix.

“I mean, the German landscape is definitely a very interesting landscape where it doesn’t matter who the promoter will be,” he said, referring to the chances that Formula 1 will take on promotional tasks at other events after Las Vegas. “Something that could happen soon [could] be very important to (help Germany get back on the calendar).”

For now, however, Formula 1 is mainly focused on securing a return to South Africa, possibly as early as 2024, to ensure it has a presence on all inhabited continents.

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