F1 is gearing up to host the inaugural Miami Grand Prix this weekend around the newly-built Miami International Autodrome that incorporates the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team. 

The 5.4-kilometre, 19-turn circuit features a sequence between Turns 13 and 16 that has been designed to create overtaking opportunities by increasing the likelihood of driver error before accelerating onto the 1.2km back straight. 

“We had to ensure that we had a racetrack that had enough of a Jekyll and Hyde personality,” explained Clive Bowen, founder and director of Apex Circuit Design. 

“They were mostly sections with grade change and a lot of traction which require a soft setup on a car, then some super high-speed sections where you want to have a stiff setup to get the best from aero performance and therefore lateral grip through the corners.

“The sequence from Turn 13 through to 16 is where we thread the needle under the Turnpike overpasses. 

“Going into Turn 14, you don't see the apex of Turn 15 until you're on the apex of Turn 14. It's what we call a ‘mistake generator’ so the opportunity for drivers to gain position because somebody in front overdrives is quite high.”


‘Formula E-like’ final sector 

AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda has likened Miami’s final sector to resembling a Formula E circuit after getting some initial practice on the simulator ahead of the weekend. 

“I have driven the track on the simulator and the first two sectors are quite fast with some medium and high-speed corner,” he said. 

“Sector 3 is what I call a “Formula E sector” with a lot of very tight corners and I think overall it looks like being quite an interesting track to drive. 

“I think it will be fun, although overtaking might be difficult, so we must qualify well.” 

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez believes the circuit will give the teams a potential headache in terms of car set-up and what downforce level to run. 

“I found the new circuit fun on the simulator and it can potentially be a good place for racing with those very long straights,” the Mexican said. 

“I think choosing the right downforce level will be the biggest challenge for all the teams.” 


Meanwhile, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is anticipating the “really interesting” track layout to “catch drivers out”. 

“It’s great to see another street circuit join the calendar, and the Miami track looks really interesting,” he said. 

“From what we’ve experienced in the simulator, there are a few challenging corners. Turns 13-16 have a surprising amount of elevation-change to catch drivers out and there are long sections where overtaking should be possible with DRS. 

“You can only learn so much pre-event – I'm excited to hit the track for the first time.”