At the other end of the complex (you can get there by gondola) is an area called The Beach, where a trio of low-speed bends allowed fans to get a bit longer glimpse of their favorite cars and drivers. . There are grandstands at The Beach. Several blocks from sheds. As well as the Red Bull Energy Center, one of many exclusive resorts – including Ferrari Club, Silver Arrows Miami Club, Crypto.com Terrace, McLaren Race House and more. – filled with brand friends. The Energy Center provides FOTBs with a pleasant hub from which to watch the action, drink any flavor of Red Bull in the sun (and even some that only Willy Wonka has dreamed up), and cheer loudly when Red Bull drivers Bull, the 24-year-old former reigning Dutch F1 world champion, Max Verstappen, and his Mexican teammate, Sergio “Checo” Pérez, missed out. According to those who’ve been everywhere, this location is a bit difficult for viewers, given that the track (via Florida Geological History) is so flat and the stadium so prominent that sightlines are often limited to a small piece of trail. Welcome centers therefore provide useful shade, useful altitude and easily adopted sporting allegiances. Everywhere we went there was music – constant, constant music. In Abu Dhabi, I met a DJ who was traveling with the F1 circus, as an in-house music supplier with various needs. I thought of him as I stood frozen for what felt like an hour on Friday afternoon watching the energy station DJ sing along to a reggaeton remix of a James Taylor song. For my delirium and his, I blame too much direct sunlight.
The whole weekend, when the sun went down, dozens, if not hundreds of bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels and pop-ups in Miami competed for the attention of fans. It’s common on an F1 race weekend, but like most things, it felt jus in South Beach. Perhaps the most coveted off-road experience was the $3,000-a-head dinner at American Express Carbone Beach, the latest Major Food Group experience outpost. In late March, Major Food Group’s Jeff Zalazick met with an agency to launch a last-minute event. Six weeks later, they had built an entire restaurant on the beach at 18th Street, where the goal was nothing less than “the best dinner you’ve ever seen,” one organizer told me. Not a modern South Beach schlock but a sixties rat-pack glamorous red sauce, in the fashion of the original Carbone. Saturday evening, I came to see. The cocktail hour included piano instrumentals over hip-hop beats – think of the Succession theme song, which was indeed performed at one point. The caviar was kept cold by a two and a half ton ice sculpture. There was a real whiff of Baz Luhrmann’s Gatsby all around. Seeing the decadence at the foot of the stage, I told Chef Mario Carbone it looked like a wedding reception on steroids. “Yeah, we also have birthday parties and bar mitzvahs now,” he joked. “You can’t just rent most of these things, so I own about 24 chandeliers now.” Every night was different – Andrea Boccelli made people cry in their Caesar salad on Thursdays; Wyclef Jean turned the energy the other way on Friday night. It was – at least if you take into account the presence of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, David Beckham, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Spike Lee, Patrick Mahomes, Derek Jeter, Michael Bay, Kygo, The Wolf of Wall Street (now The Wolf of South Beach), and the Mayor of Miami, obviously the place to be. When I asked someone how, with dozens and dozens of establishments in Miami doing everything they could to be The Place To Be on the weekends, the pop-up was able to assert itself as a top dog, I received a shrug: “It’s Carbone.”