Parc Ferme: Formula 1 Soap

Parc Ferme: Formula 1’s Miami GP Soap

Parc Ferme: Formula 1 Soap

The Miami GP was starting to look more of a Formula 1 soap opera than a sporting event. There were fake boats in fake water, at a fake venue, with fake racing, as far as the Sprint was concerned.

However, the main race saved the day, with some great overtakes pulled out of the bag and, of course, Lando Norris’ maiden win.

Soap Series

The last episode of the Adrian Newey saga confirmed his divorce from Red Bull Racing. However, such is the hype around the storyline that he now requires bodyguards.

A bemused Newey was seen moving through the Miami GP Paddock with five of them. I presume to protect him from unwanted attention from disappointed “Red Bullers” and would-be Tifosi suitors.

However, we’ll have to wait for the next episode to see who he’ll be hooking up with in the future… or, as current bad boy character Christian Horner alluded to, leaving the series?

 Slippery Soap

The Miami International Autodrome may be carved out of a parking lot, but it delivers a huge challenge to the drivers. It’s the third race at the venue, and it’s clear none of them have got a handle on it, not even Max Verstappen. Bemoaning the variable grip was the favorite excuse.

Yes, it is slippery, but then it’s the same for everyone, so no, it doesn’t explain the erratic performances. We should, therefore, tender our gratitude to the circuit’s designer, Clive Bowen, for creating a track whose secrets are difficult to prise from it! For the drivers, it’s proving frustrating when trying to link a lap in qualifying. But, for the spectators, the qualifying roller coaster made it all the more interesting.

Washed up

A case in point was Daniel Ricciardo. It was great to see everyone’s favorite sympathy character make a reappearance over the Miami GP weekend.

Absent for some time, he pulled one out of the hat to qualify the Visa Racing Cash Satsuma on the second row for the Sprint. To complete the fantasy, he then went on to hold that position in the Sprint race and, at one point, threatened the podium.

However, normal service was restored as he later failed to emerge from Q1 for the proper stuff. The only good news was that his three-place grid penalty was reduced to one. The bad news, however, was this was due to no twenty-first or twenty-second slot on the F1 grid,  yet.

Clean up your act

The rationale as to the cause of such performance variances has generally been laid at the feet of the tyres and the cars.

However, I believe it lies with the drivers themselves and their approach to two pivotal corners. Turns 11 and 17, respectively.

All the drivers were trying to “send it” going in, something that normally works but not here. Turn 11 takes them into a tight, twisty section, which requires them to maintain momentum and a good track position throughout. Particularly if you want to maximise your exit speed out of T16!

To “push” or not to Push

norris miami gp

If you “Monkey” T11, you blow that whole section and overwork your tyres while trying to rescue it! The same goes for T17. It’s better to tamp down the last of the late breakers technique on entry and nail the apex and exit, as this allows the driver to max out T18 and their speed on the straight.

The fact that nearly everyone went slower in their final Q3 push lap kind of underlines it all.

The harder I try, the slower I go

I suspect that most of the driver’s best times came when they weren’t quite giving it full Tonto. Lewis Hamilton managed to get within four-tenths of Verstappen’s pole time in Q2 instead of almost one second in Q3. I also suspect that Lando Norris’s performance on the mediums was better than the softs because they stood up better to being overdriven.

Waiting for the next instalment

With the Miami GP behind us, it’s still more than a week until Emilia Romagna, when we may discover that Max wasn’t beaten in Miami and that Zak Brown dreams. Logan Sargeant and Lance Stroll really do have what it takes to stay on the F1 grid. That Adrian Newey leaving Red Bull was really a rumour put about by Toto Wolff. I can’t wait!