Now or never for Merc: 2022 Miami Grand Prix what to watch for


The inaugural Miami Grand Prix is shaping up to be a critical one in the bigger F1 picture

Miami GP 2022

Miami has spared no effort in making its first race a spectacle

Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Formula 1 has finally come to Miami. After years of trying to get the event off the ground, Liberty Media has its new crown jewel event.

Complete with an NFL stadium to serve as background, three DRS zones that should promote overtaking and a fake marina for added glamour, the Miami International Autodrome looks the part of major F1 event.

After a switch from Port Miami to the area surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Grand Prix has been a long time coming and the finishing touches are going on as teams unpack and set-up.

Will the race itself live up to the weight of expectation?

Here is what to watch out for during the first Miami Grand Prix weekend.


Come on Carlos

Carlos Sainz, 2022 Imola GP

Sainz hasn’t seen the chequered flag since Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Barni ATPImages/Getty Images

Carlos Sainz’s season has not gone to plan whatsoever.

Now that he has a championship-winning car at his disposal, mistakes that he hadn’t been making in seasons gone by have crept into his weekends.

It has left him cut well adrift of the title favourites in team-mate Charles Leclerc and the defending champion Max Verstappen. The Spaniard is 48 points off of the top spot and mired down in fifth position in the drivers’ standings.

Another weekend in which he’s massively out-scored by his team-mate could spell disaster for his prospects and cement his position as number two driver.


All about the show

Miami GP Podium 2022

A huge podium big enough to fit the entire grid on plus team bosses

Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Heineken

F1 is making every effort to make this race weekend feel big.

There was a pre-race ‘party’ on the huge podium with all drivers and team bosses gathered in front of fans. The infamous fake marina has garnered plenty of attention on social media and the trophy has been made by Tiffany and Co.

Numerous celebrities are expected to be attending over the weekend.

Inside the Miami Dolphins stadium, F1 cars from years past will be on display and rotate out during the weekend for fans in attendance.

The numerous VIP stands and booths that line the circuit promise great vantage points for those that were able to secure their tickets in time before it sold out.

The semi-permanent circuit looks impressive no matter what you make of the layout, and the Miami GP ‘campus’ has gone down well with those on the ground in Florida.

As F1 tries to make the most of its growing popularity in the United States, the Miami International Autodrome is the new template for what races will look like going forward.


W Series returns

Jamie Chadwick, 2021 COTA W Series

Chadwick is back to defend her W Series title

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

W Series kicks off its 2022 season in Miami with defending champion Jamie Chadwick looking to make it three-in-a-row in the series.

It will be supporting the Formula 1 weekend at the Miami International Autodrome with races one and two of the season on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Last season’s championship was fought between Chadwick and Alice Powell, with the duo trading wins across the season.

Chadwick ended the season at the Circuit of the Americas with back-to-back wins to seal her third title, but can she repeat in 2022 with another US double header?


Make or break at Mercedes

2022 Imola GP, Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes upgrades need to work this weekend or its 2022 season could be over

Cristiano Barni ATPImages/Getty Images

Arriving this weekend with upgrades for its underperforming W13, Mercedes will be the team to keep a very close eye on.

Having suffered with the worst porpoising it has experienced during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, upgrades to prevent the bouncing are desperately needed to return the team to competitiveness.

Heading to the Miami round, the team reportedly has an understanding of what aspect of its design is causing the porpoising, but the new parts have to work in order to continue with development of the car.

Should the updates produce data that the team has predicted, further assessments will be carried out at Barcelona and plans made for the future development of the W13.

Otherwise, it could be back to the drawing board with focus fully on 2023.