In Miami Gardens you can see and be seen in Formula 1
Arie Luyendyk (69) follows the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday at his home in front of the TV in Arizona, USA. The former driver, who grew up in IndyCar, is hoping to take victory from Max Verstappen (25) in a Formula 1 race on the street circuit around Hard Rock Stadium. “Of course I’ll search” belatedly Flying Dutchman know from us. “I am a huge fan of Max.”
Luyendyk and Verstappen are two Dutch racing greats. Both are popular in the United States, but in two different branches of motorsport. Luyendyk won the 1990 and 1997 Indy 500 races at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The famous race is part of the IndyCar series, which takes place on racetracks, street tracks and oval It is led. Verstappen managed to win the US Grand Prix three times at the F1 tracks in Austin (2021 and 2022) and Miami (2022). This Sunday, Verstappen will start the world championship standings on a 5.4km circuit at Gardens Miami.
The races are different for the crowd. Indy 500 – A 200-lap race held every year at the end of May on a weekend Memorial Day Held over a distance of 500 miles (805 kilometers) – spectators experience it as a festival where days of entertainment and sports go hand in hand. Fans sleep in RVs, grill in the parking lot, drink gallons of beer, and see the Indy 500 as their annual outing. The cheapest tickets for the race are fixed places at 40 euros. “The circuit is open and the fans can see the mechanics in action for themselves. The atmosphere is very relaxed,” Luyendyk explains. “The crowd is a real part of IndyCar.”
The contrast with the Formula 1 atmosphere in Miami is great. No stroll from the car here. Those who want to hit the track at Miami Gardens on Sunday will have to pay €700 for a grandstand ticket. Formula 1 in the United States, even more so than in Europe or Asia, is in practice mainly for the jet set. “The audience is in the stands with milkshakes and expensive sunglasses. It’s a completely different experience than the typical American Nascar or IndyCar experience,” explains Dutchman Robin Bilkert. As the GP and Grand Prix Ticketshop Incentives Manager, he arranges trips of all shapes and sizes to various prize races. “A ticket to the arena in Miami costs €10,000. Then there are the hotel and food costs. So it’s full of all kinds of stars who want to see and be seen.”
Although Formula 1 is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, the three races of the season are still in the shadows of IndyCar. There is also only one American driver in Formula One, Logan Sargeant (Williams). The Indy 500 race was first held in 1911 and, along with the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24-hour Le Mans race, is one of The Triple Crown of Motorsports. Luyendyk has grown into a national hero in the US due to his victory in Indianapolis, and thus enjoys a very different status than Verstappen, who triumphed in Monaco in 2021. Bilkert: “Luyendyk has been Americanized and embraced by people. Verstappen is less popular in the US as a foreigner. You’ll see in Miami , for example, that many Latinos will cheer for fellow Mexican Sergio Perez.”
Talent and daring
Luyendyk can explain the difference between racing in Europe and the United States like no other. Born as Arie Luyendijk in Sommelsdijk in the south of the Netherlands, he grew up in the Dutch racing world with his father. As a so-called Formula Super Vee champion, he entered Formula 3 with Jan Lammers and Huub Rothengatter for Racing Team Holland in 1978. Luyendyk lacked the finances to really compete. Lammers and Rottengater later in Formula One, Luyendyk sought his luck in the United States.
There he ended up in a world where talent and daring played a bigger role than a shepherd with a big bag of money. “I got a new opportunity in America,” says Luyendyk. “If you can prove you can drive, you have more options than in Europe. After one race, I was actually offered a seat, without having to pay any money for it. This is how it all began for me in the 1980s.”
According to Luyendyk, the race in the United States is not much different from Europe, but the competition and opposition in the United States are fiercer and greater. In addition, the physical effort of IndyCar racing is enormous. Luyendyk has grown into a racing legend on the world-famous oval, which has been made of 3.2 million cobblestones for a hundred years. Not only through his victories, but also by setting a speed record of 382 kilometers per hour during qualifying in 1996. This record still stands and is clearer than the highest top speed ever measured in a Formula 1 race. That is, 372.5 kilometers per hour. On behalf of the Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas, who drove in 2016 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
IndyCar and Formula 1 also have common ground. In fact, Indianapolis is not only a serious part of IndyCar, but also belongs to the history of Formula 1. In 1950, the oval track was one of seven circuits during the first season of Formula 1. Although the race was a stand-alone at that time and the Americans Only they took part in it. Winner Johnny Parsons played no significant part in the six European circuits. Of the 34 world champions in Formula 1, only two Americans have managed to rank themselves: Phil Hill in 1961 and Mario Andretti in 1978.
Indianapolis made a comeback in Formula 1 in 2000. With the construction of a private circuit in the inner region of oval The organization managed to unite the two racing cultures during the United States Grand Prix. However, it was not an unconditional success. The low point was 2005, when Michelin tires turned out to be so unsuitable that only six cars made their debut. In 2007, Indianapolis disappeared from the Formula 1 calendar. The Indy 500 has always been a huge success and will be held for the 107th time later this month. With Luyendyk as host for the race along the track.
The Indianapolis Formula 1 failure symbolizes the love-hate relationship between Americans and the premiere of motorsport. In the search for the ideal location for American Formula 1, things have gone awry more often than not in the past seven decades. However, the American Watkins Glen circuit was successful for a long time between 1961 and 1980. A fast, hard circuit in upstate New York. But it’s also dangerous. After a number of fatal crashes, the race was cancelled. Las Vegas was on the calendar in 1981 and 1982 with a 75-lap race in the parking lot of Caesars Palace. A kind of kart circuit that, according to many drivers, is not worthy of Formula 1. The Phoenix circuit (where the Grand Prix was held in 1989, 1990 and 1991) had a different problem. It was so hot there that a large number of cars had to stop the battle because of the heat.
The negative feelings have now shifted. With Austin as the positive center. The Circuit of the Americas has enjoyed iconic status in Formula 1 since 2012, but the track with its famous control tower has gained competition. Since Liberty Media took over Formula 1 in 2017, the niche sport with an increasingly large British following has evolved into a show with a global audience. In this regard, the new street circuits in Miami and Las Vegas fit perfectly into the new concept.
The Miami circuit is great, but it’s also a compromise. Where the race takes place in Baku, Monaco and Singapore in between, the Formula 1 circus does not pass through the world famous Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. The love for Formula 1 is not great enough among the residents to close the most beautiful part of the city. The Drivers circle the Miami Dolphins’ home on nineteen corners; The stadium normally used for American football is now the arena.
The elite will enjoy the fifth race of the Formula 1 season with champagne and lobsters in a special way. Luyendyk still prefers sticking with IndyCar. Where drivers and fans mingle with a donut and beer before and after the race.
A version of this article also appeared in the May 6, 2023 issue of the newspaper.
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