Most of the talk in Formula One land is about whether Sergio Perez can in fact launch a title bid against his team mate and double world champion Max Verstappen.
Apart form the frenetic nature of the Sprint Shootout (qualifying) the Baku weekend failed to live up to its billed excitement and following a month long break since the race win Melbourne the Miami GP more than ever now needs to deliver.
New surface suits Ferrari 1 lap pace
The Miami International Autodrome is a temporary circuit erected around the Miami Dolphins Stadium and should be really classified as a street circuit in nature.
So all bodes well for the newly crowned “King of the Streets” who will expect to take it to Max Verstappen as the F1 circus rolls into Southern Florida.
The surface has been relaid since last years inaugural event following criticism form the drivers and is expected to be high grip which will suit the Ferrari cars one lap pace.
Further, the teams’ hospitality suites will now be hosted on the pitch within the stadium something not possible last year due to the proximity of Tennis’ Miami Open.
Fans get access to “teams’ village”
Interestingly the “teams’ village” as it is to be called will be accessible to all general admission holders who purchase the upgraded “campus pass” so expect the drivers to complain about being mobbed by fans as they attempt to make it between the team suites and the pit lane garages.
With Red Bull establishing themselves after just four rounds as the class of the field, F1 fans will be hoping that Sergio Perez will have his best season in the sport to date and create an inter team battle akin to that of Rosberg and Hamilton for the drivers’ F1 title.
Sp far it appears Perez best opportunities are at the circuits Christian Horner described as not “normal” when asked about his Mexican driver’s win in Baku.
Horner questions Perez on “normal track”
“I think he just needs to do it at a normal track now.”
“So he’s excelled at street circuits. All his victories for us have been at street tracks. Second time he’s won here, won in Singapore, won in Monaco, won in Jeddah.
“Just need to get him going at the proper circuits, too.”
One other factor that may up the excitement levels may be provided by the vagaries of the local climate.
Vettel returns to F1 seat this year
Start of the wet season
May is an interesting month in Miami’s weather patterns. The temperatures are relatively stable with highs around 30 degrees celsius and lows of 24 with humidity levels of about 50%.
However May is the beginning of the wet season in the Everglades just outside of Miami and the chance of rain each day rises from 20% at the end of April to around 60% by the end of May.
While Friday is expected to be mostly sunny, the forecast for Saturday and Sunday is more dubious.
With qualifying at 16:00 hours local time this is often when the humidity and hotter temperatures combine to create cloudy conditions where a short sharp thunderstorm can come out of nowhere.
Thunderstorm likely during race
Presently there is a 15% chance of rain during qualifying in two days time and this rises to almost 20% on the day of there Grand Prix.
The precipitation levels for Sunday are significant with 7.5mm forecast and most of this would fall during a short sharp storm and the probability of rain increases sharply from the scheduled start of the race.
With a 93 point lead in the con structors’ championship after just four rounds, it will be Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin who may be sending their crews out to perform rain dances at the fake Marina in the hope a wet circuit will level things up somewhat.
Formula One at present has nobody considered to be a “rainmeister” in the vogue of Michael Schumacher.
F1 lacking “rainmeisters”
Lewis Hamilton has had some memorable races in the wet, though his recent errors at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix in 2021 would suggest that time may have caught up on him somewhat.
Hamilton was fortunate that day that his team mate Valterri Bottas and a charging George Russell had a huge collision which red flagged the race and allowed Hamilton to crawl back to the pit lane and fortuitously take the restart after rookie mistakes while driving in the wet.
Sebastian Vettel had a memorable outing in the wet back in 2008 when driving for Toro Rosso in Monza.
Yet it may be Fernando Alonso who would benefit most from wet proceedings in Miami. When driving for Ferrari back in 2012 his technical director Pat Fry admitted it was Alonso’s wet weather skills during the early part of the season that saw the Spaniard leading the drivers’ championship by 40 points.
READ MORE: Hamilton counters critics
Only one driver could ever be the first #MiamiGP winner… 🏆🌴@Max33Verstappen claimed that title with this impressive move on Charles Leclerc! 💪#F1 @redbullracing pic.twitter.com/yr5EPOehV1
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 3, 2023