Next week’s Formula 1 race is a first in Miami, but for some of the track’s stars, the race is a homecoming.
“I mean, for me in particular, it’s going to be pretty cool,” Nicholas Latifi, 26, who drives for the Williams team, told The Post. “Outside of Toronto, where I grew up, Miami is where I did most of my karting and racing.”
Latifi, who will be driving with teammate Alex Albon at the Miami Grand Prix on May 8, says he’s excited to meet South despite spending most of his time in South Florida training and at his family’s vacation home in Boca Raton Beach got from his race weekbar at the W Hotel South Beach this year.
“Of course we drive to very beautiful and exciting places for Formula 1. But as a driver you are primarily there for work. So yes, it will definitely not be possible to participate in nighttime activities,” Latifi said. “But luckily I’m getting there a little early to get used to the jet lag, so I’ve got a few days off to just relax.”
Ahead of Miami’s most exciting racing event, Latifi told The Post about his Miami and grappling with the new course.
What do you think about this new track?
In general, a new track is always a very exciting and unique challenge for drivers and teams. I always love to discover new tracks. It’s fun to see how quickly you find the rhythm, you know, find your references and really get going.
More specifically, a free track [like the Miami International Autodrome], always fun. There’s always another element pulling into the walls trying to judge everything. I was going to say you have to be accurate to the centimeter, but really it’s accurate to the millimeter – it’s the difference between something good and something not so good.
You’re Canadian, but tell me about your relationship with South Florida.
It’s kinda typical of Canada to go to Miami in the winter. We are total snowbirds.
As a child, I used to go on vacations with my family, especially over the Christmas break into the New Year. But then there was just a lot of karting in the winter. Where I’m from there’s a lot of snow in the winter, so I’ve probably been down in Florida two weekends a month during the winter, did a few races and spent a lot of time there. For the past few years I’ve always gone there for my winter training camps and had driving opportunities there. So yes, I know Florida in general and Miami in particular very well.
Was it all work or did you find time for fun?
If you’re there to drive, it’s the route, the hotel, the airport, and then there you go. I’d say most of the time I spent there was for racing purposes – riding intended, which is where I stayed.
But my family used to have winter quarters in Boca Raton, but at the same time we also spent a lot of time and probably more time down on the Sunny Isles. If I’ve gone lately, that’s the area I mostly stay in. Sometimes I’ve been a little closer to the center of Brickell and the surrounding area.
My brother is going to the University of Miami so I’m meeting him because I haven’t seen him since Christmas break. And that allows me to go to some nice restaurants.
Do you have a favorite Miami hotel or restaurant scene?
When it comes to hotels, the W Hotel South Beach is definitely my favorite place to stay. Definitely looking forward to going back there.
I’m a big fan of Asian restaurants, of course Zuma and Komodo come to mind. We also go to Milos.
Do you feel confident before the race?
Our team has been good at entering new tracks, being aware of what we need to do and how we can optimize the car. Hopefully it will be a good opportunity for us. At the same time, we have to be realistic. We’re not in the position we want to be. But it doesn’t take away from the excitement of arriving in Miami to experience a brand new event. I am really looking forward to this.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/29/what-formula-1s-nicholas-latifi-loves-about-miami/ What Formula 1’s Nicholas Latifi loves about Miami