Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Chance of thunderstorms on Sunday could lead to first wet race of 2023 in Miami

2023 Miami Grand Prix weather

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The Miami Grand Prix is scheduled for the same weekend this year as its inaugural appearance on the Formula 1 calendar in 2022, but the weather could be very different.

Hot temperatures last year on the newly-laid track surface for the temporary circuit led to low grip levels and eventually tearing up of the track itself after a weekend of F1 cars running around it.

For 2023 race new asphalt has been laid which is expected to provide more grip. If ambient temperatures are high enough then we could see significantly higher track temperatures as the new layer is darker than the old. It has also been jet-washed, further increasing its abrasiveness and potentially leading to very high tyre temperatures.

When F1 cars hit the track for the first time at 2pm local time on Friday it is expected to be the hottest time of the day with the temperature forecast to be 30C. A 20kph westbound wind go against the direction of travel for cars on the pit straight and the straights between turns eight and 11. Therefore drivers are set to benefit from a tailwind on the long back straight heading towards the final corners.

The air temperature is only anticipated to drop by one or two degrees by the time the second practice session starts at 5:30pm, with winds staying just as strong.

Third practice at 12:30pm on Saturday is forecast to take place in similar temperatures, and slightly weaker winds of the same direction coming from the United States’ East Coast only 10 kilometres away.

There is a slight chance of rain for when qualifying begins at 4pm. On Sunday the grand prix’s start time of 3:30pm is again set to be the hottest part of the day, meaning drivers can expect it to get cooler throughout the race.

However Sunday’s forecast also brings a much higher chance of rain. Recent forecasts put it as high as 66% in the local area, and therefore could see herald the arrival of rain before the race finish and the first wet grand prix of 2023.

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For more updates on the track conditions during each session keep an eye on RaceFans Live and the RaceFans Twitter account.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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24 comments on “Chance of thunderstorms on Sunday could lead to first wet race of 2023 in Miami”

  1. Nacho Nachev
    3rd May 2023, 20:14

    Or probably the first canceled race or non-race of the season. Wet and F1 don’t seem to mix any longer.

    1. true, that’s the likely scenarios

    2. Exactly. F1 has turned into a Mickey Mouse joke. They used to recover almost every car under local yellow and now ANYTHING is at minimum a VSC and very often a RF for again what would have been a local yellow. And, I’m sorry, but from 1980-2018 (the 40 years prior to 2020 when they began flagging races more and more like this), Bianchi was literally the only driver who ever lost his life and torrential raining, darkness and Bianchi driving faster than normal are radically different situations than most of these situations. The soul of F1 has been crushed.

      1. It’s not only drivers that are in danger, just check this

        1. I mean VSC can be necessary if there’s an issue on the track with marshalls probably hanging around, so no racing and be prepared for everything, that’s it. Yeah, it interferes with racing and is annoying from F1 fans perspective, but it also can save lives.

        2. I talk about the marshal issue below. Anyway, seen every race from 1980 on and marshals recovered cars on track for nearly 40 years without a fatality. Speaking as someone who’s been a marshal many times, they don’t want a red flag or SC every time a car needs to be recovered. I’m all for a higher level of safety for marshals, but cars pulled well off the track on a straight, to the inside of an apex/opposite direction of travel of momentum, etc., don’t need a VSC or SC let alone a RF. Basically, the question = does every single incident for the rest of time in F1 require a race pause?

        3. @Jogo, just telling people to watch one of the most traumatising accidents I’ve ever seen without any kind of warning is a bit irresponsible. I’ve not been able to unsee it in the 30 years since.

    3. Especially wet on a tightly confined street circus.

  2. The fun police wont allow that. Most likely laps behind safety car and red flag waiting.

    Despite being obsessed with safety above all else, the FIA are showing some of the most dangerous moments of incompetence in recent years putting people lives at risk. Like with the tractor in Japan, or last weekend when Ocon almost killed someone (just a journalist, but still).

    1. You’re right, but Japan was 100% Gasly showing zero common sense and there is no danger with the race restarts. It’s just that the RFs weren’t necessary and that a driver’s race entire race can be so easily ruined by a standing restart with two laps to go. There’s nothing inherently dangerous even if drivers are being super aggressive. If bouncing off a fence upside at 180mph only left bruises in 2007 with no halo and much smaller cars, they’re even more immune today. Baseball players face exponentially more danger than today’s F1 drivers.

      It’s a shame there’s not even common sense to recover cars under local yellow, which is how it was done FOREVER with Bianchi being the only casualty and that was in rain and darkness F1 would be too scared to even try to race in today because, again, F1 doesn’t do rain or even moderate danger anymore.

  3. Saturday‘s Formula E race looks more likely to be wet.

  4. Short periods of heavy downpours are possible on Saturday and Sunday. Will not last long though. Florida weather usually works that way. I don’t expect race cancellation, a brief postponement can happen at any time though.

  5. One wonders if today’s drivers and FIA decision makers think the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix, which saw all but six cars retire yet not a single lap run under FCY conditions, was filmed in a green screen studio.

    A proper wet race would be excellent. It also won’t happen.

    1. Yes, I miss them, in recent times we had some quiet intermediate condition races in turkey, as well as a more eventful one in germany 2019 and then full wet conditions in brazil 2016, which I liked, but there was lots of safety car use compared to the 90s; even that is better than them ruining wet races like they did in japan last time it rained.

    2. Ohh, not to mention spa 2021, I’m so angry at that, they turned something that had the potential to be the best race of the last 10 years into a non race! Remember how eventful spa 98 was in similar conditions.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        4th May 2023, 4:58

        It’s 25 years old that race this year. On its 20th anniversary I posted a picture of the restaurant where the Jordan team celebrated their win on my Instagram

      2. Definitely, it could easily have been an epic showdown between the two title contenders, too.

        Part of the reason this is now so rare is the lack of rule enforcement. The FIA needs to get the drivers straightened out, because it is true that the risks to others and support staff is higher in the wet. If F1 had proper yellow flags, it would give race control a lot more tools to safely handle minor incidents.

      3. Yellow Baron
        4th May 2023, 10:08

        Just rewatched it after reading your comment. It looks to me like they could have began the race if they did with the cars running as they were behind the safety car.
        Meaning if for the restart max was told to not slow and become effective safety car. But rather stay within 10 lengths of the safety car all the way untill in entered the pit lane, then green flag

        I can’t remember the last time we had an actual race with the wet tyres and not just running under safety car untill it’s time to pit for inters

    3. It would be an insult to ballerinas (who endure intense pain and lifelong foot, leg and hip injuries) to compare today’s F1 drivers to them let alone “gladiators.” One of the many excuses for them never recovering cars under local yellow today is that it wouldn’t be fair to the marshals. Well, let me tell you, most marshals are hardcore racing fans who want to see the same sort of racing as the rest of and who want to be challenged. I have been a marshal (it was expected of SCCA drivers to do at least some marshaling from club regionals to Champ Car GPs) and they would have been horrified if we stopped the entire race every time a driver pulled, spun or crashed off. Yes, there shouldn’t be tractors on the track. But they should be able to be used off the track. A double yellow means go slow and be prepared to stop entirely. All it takes is the FIA actually enforcing this rule to ensure cars can be recovered safely under local double yellows. Automatic black flag or 10 second stop go if they don’t adhere to this. That way we can go back to racing without a stop every 5 laps in some races. It’s also really easy to use radios and GPS to clear debris without having to stop the race or risk cars being near the marshals.

  6. I see 56% as the current precipitation probability for the afternoon in Miami Gardens, so relatively low.
    Hopefully, rain won’t come anyway, considering the race start time & generally because of overcautious.

    1. Overcautiosness

  7. I wonder if F1 would have to red flag the race if there is lightning in the area as domestic US series have to?

    After a fan was killed by a lightning strike at i believe a nascar race a few years ago i think it was there has been a policy with domestic series that the race has to be halted and fans removed from uncovered grandstands if there is lightning within a set distance from the track.

    The 12 hours of Sebring (Or was it the Petit Le Mans?) was red flagged and called early 2-3 years ago for this reason.

    1. @PeterG Possibly, considering the Super GT season-opener in Okayama on April 16 also got red-flagged because of lightning outside the circuit boundaries but in relative proximity.

  8. I’d love to see a wet race, but sadly the race directors seem afraid of anything more than mildly moist.

    And since a red flag would be shown about 20 seconds after the first car goes off track, even in the dry, it’s a pointless exercise anyway.

    Safety is paramount, of course, but when even the illusion of risk has been removed to the point that races are stopped for a piece of wing on the track, it means that motor racing has lost its way.

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