The tour starts in the middle of the stadium and gives us a first impression of how colossal the sports temple really is. After a welcome talk in the smaller tennis stadium built for the Miami Open in the American Football Stadium, we will be taken to several VIP locations. Andrew Wallis from Apex Circuit Design, the company that designed the circuit, speaks in one of the bars in the stadium. He talks about the layout of the track and the challenges you face along the way. In his opinion, the fact that the paddock is on the narrow side is intentional. “It makes it easier for you to meet people, so I’m sure you can thank me for that now.” Then we take the elevator to the top floor of the stadium, where there’s a nice view of the fast corners on the north side of the first sector and on the south side of the last corner and the entrance to the pits has roadway. From there we see some supercars driving the first hot laps around the racetrack.
The program has come to an end, but we are more than welcome to stay behind for the opening party, which is about to start. On the podium where the trophies will be presented on Sunday, David Croft and Naomi Shiff introduce the W-Series drivers to the audience before calling all the Formula 1 drivers and team principals team by team onto the podium. Kygo then takes the stage for a dazzling concert with guest appearances needed.
Sunday’s race isn’t particularly spectacular, but overtaking is better than many thought. The condition of the tarmac meant that the track continued to improve over the weekend. The later winner Max Verstappen can outwit Carlos Sainz at the start in the first corner. It’s possible that the track surface can be adjusted for next year, but in the end the tarmac gave the riders a good challenge. It is more important to adapt the chicane for 2022. Carlos Sainz after the race: “You almost need a bit of luck to get through there. If you don’t get it right, the car will make an ugly jump. If you take it perfectly, you suddenly gain two tenths. It all feels a bit unnatural.” According to Verstappen, a small change can help enormously. “If you let the curbs run a little higher, it will be much more pleasant to drive through them. Maybe that will help a lot.”
Apart from the high prices, the vast majority of fans who were at the track will look back on a successful event, because from experience and technically everything seemed to be in order. And with the grandstands only half full in free practice, off-track entertainment was just as important as what was happening on track. But perhaps Wallis and his colleagues at Apex Circuit Design could tweak the layout of the circuit a little bit, making the chicane less of a lottery and allowing for better overtaking here and there, so the race has more to offer TV viewers than just pretty pictures.