Driving the new Miami F1 circuit: is the track any good?


Will the newest F1 venue make for an exciting race or a dull affair?

Miami GP 2022

It looks the part but can the on-track action live up to the off-track offering?


It’s the third draft of the Miami Grand Prix circuit after previous failed attempts to bring F1 back to Florida, but is the Miami International Autodrome a good circuit?

The venue itself has split opinion, with favourable reviews calling it the pinnacle of modern F1 hosts, while detractors have levelled criticisms at its over-the-top presentation and of course, the fake marina.

But what will the racing bring?

Having had the chance to trial the new circuit on the F1 22 video game, here is where the action points are likely to be and why qualifying could be a game of fine margins.

Miami International Autodrome - Circuit

View more

Sector 1

Turns 1 through 8 make up the first sector and the corners themselves are part of a sweeping and flowing section of track.

After a tight hairpin to open the lap, the corners come up quickly and drivers will need to be precise or face running a fraction wide which will turn into meters by the Turn 8 left-hander.

An eighth gear flick left at Turn 4 is where qualifying will be mighty to see. Full commitment and mid-corner speed will be critical for time, but overstep the mark and ride up onto the kerbs and the lap will be lost.

The section ends with a never-ending left-hand hairpin onto the second straight. Corner exit will be vital to ensure the best speed to open the next sector, and to get the upper hand in a wheel-to-wheel battle.


Sector 2

Here is where the first real overtaking opportunity presents itself. It’s the first DRS zone of the lap and heading into the heavy braking zone of Turn 11, the drag reduction system will be worth a fair few tenths.

A section of track that is very similar to the final corner of the Jeddah Street Circuit in Saudi Arabia, the long left into a hairpin promises a chance to dive down the inside during the race.

But if the move isn’t completed on corner exit, the inside line quickly turns into the outside at Turn 12, and there’s very little room to manoeuvre out there.

The following section of track is the tightest of the lap and will be very limited in terms of any overtaking moves.

From the double right-hander of Turn 12, a very short burst uphill into the ultra tight chicane of Turns 14 and 15 will form a single-file queue on the opening lap, not too dissimilar to Singapore’s final chicane. Keeping patient and not losing a front wing here will require a lighter touch on the loud pedal.

Then it’s on to Turn 16 and under the bridge to the back straight. An acute left-hand corner with a wall on the outside eager to meet the cars will reward anyone for pushing right up to the limit but quickly bite anyone that dares overstep the mark.



Sector 3

This is all about the run to Turn 17.

A mega straight into a heavy braking zone complete with DRS will allow drivers to gain a massive tow on the car ahead, if they can stay in range following the tight turns that precede it.

This season’s cars have been much better equipped to keep that gap down and remain within striking distance of the one ahead, which will lead to plenty of slipstreaming battles to end the lap.

T17 leads into a quick left/right flick to end the lap and lead back onto the pit straight, at which point drivers will get a third bite of the DRS cherry to close the lap.

This final DRS zone leading to Turn 1 is a little bit too short to generate any real overtaking opportunities but it should keep drivers within touching distance for Sector 1.


Pit lane

The pit lane entry is worth noting for this weekend. Two high kerbs make up a tight apex prior to the white line denoting the speed limit point commencing.

If a driver gets greedy with their entry speed or clout the kerbs heavily on the approach to the pit lane, a trip into the wall that sits close by will not be far away.

Lewis Hamilton will be keen to prevent any repeat of his Russian GP error from last year that meant he lost out on a final Q3 effort having tapped the outside wall, damaging his Mercedes.


The verdict

With a nice mix of technical and challenging corners as well as flowing sweeps and long straights into heavy braking zones, the formula is right on paper at least for a closely-fought race.

The drivers are expecting a lot of overtaking during Sunday’s race, with the three DRS zones being largely responsible for the on-track action, yet the middle part of the lap will provide a challenge.

“I have driven the track on the simulator and the first two sectors are quite fast with some medium and high-speed corners,” Yuki Tsunoda said ahead of the weekend. “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. If we can have a long run pace similar or better than at Imola, that would be perfect.”

AlphaTauri team-mate Pierre Gasly said he’s clocked 130 laps on the team’s simulator ahead of the race weekend.

Time will tell if the Frenchman’s dedication will pay off and whether or not Miami’s semi-permanent effort will be a hit with the fans.