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Miami Grand Prix's Fake Marina Was Good, Actually

Miami F1's signature feature, this pretend marina, was a delight. You just had to see it in person.

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Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP (Getty Images)

Over the weekend, Formula 1 hosted its inaugural Miami Grand Prix to much fanfare and a whole lot of drama. One of the easiest targets for detractors came in the form of the track’s fake marina, where a handful of yachts were parked and then surrounded by fake water — but honestly? The marina was great.

I get it. F1 does tend to make itself something of an easy target, what with its tunnel-vision focus on all things glamour that can tend to border on camp. The “marina” was one of those ideas — in order to create some faux “Monaco of America” vibes at an inland race track that promoters desperately wanted you to think was replete with oceanside views, they constructed a silly little enclosure for rich folks to watch on-track action from, essentially, a dry-docked boat.


I even had a laugh about it, since I had foolishly believed the enclosure would be filled with actual water. It was not. But I made a point of walking out to the marina while I was at the race over the weekend, and y’know what? It really wasn’t that bad. It was even kind of cute.


My favorite part about it? Fans could actually be seated at a “waterfront” restaurant and dine next to the water, and there were covered tables for relaxing nearby, too. Ridiculous, yes, but the commitment to the bit was so stunning that it filled me with a kind of childlike joy that I simply did not think was tangible in my olden years. You can see the “restaurant” building on the top right of this image:

It was cheesy, but so is so much else in this world. If you’ve ever been to a music festival, you’ve definitely seen a fake beach at some point. If you’ve been to a Rainforest Café, this is the same concept. If you’ve had drinks at some trendy bar that tried to emulate the feeling of some European vista, the Miami marina was the same thing. Folks were just hating on it because it was something different. We just forgot how to use our imagination.

You can hate on it all you want, but the Miami Grand Prix marina was Good, actually.