F1 Miami Grand Prix Notebook: Horner, Trump Make Waves in South Florida

f1 grand prix of miami qualifying
F1 Miami GP Notebook: Horner, Trump Make WavesMark Thompson - Getty Images

Donald Trump makes an appearance and supports an orange car, Nico Hulkenberg grabs an unwanted record, and Alpine has another new face at the technical helm.

Autoweek rounds up some off-track talking points from Miami.

Horner Hits Back Over Personnel Changes

McLaren’s Zak Brown and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff stirred the pot in Miami by outlining that their organizations have noticed an increase in job applications from those currently employed by Red Bull.

The squad spent the early weeks of the season dogged by the saga surrounding team principal Christian Horner—with the complainant’s appeal still ongoing—while last week it was confirmed that design legend Adrian Newey will exit in 2025. But Horner hit back, pointing out the number of recruits it has made from Mercedes’ High Performance Powertrains division for its own Red Bull PowerTrains company ahead of the new-for-2026 engine regulations.


“We also get these CVs (job applications) every week,” said Horner. “It’s inevitable, I’m not going to get sucked into a tit for tat but I’d be more focused on Toto’s own issues that he has. I don’t have any concern with the strength of depth, there’s always going to be movement. We’ve taken 220 people out of HPP and into Red Bull Powertrains, so when we’re talking of losing people, I’d be more worried about 220 than maybe one or two CVs.”

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Donald Trump visits with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown in front of the McLaren F1 garage in Miami on Sunday.Anadolu - Getty Images

A Presidential Presence

There was heightened security—and frenzy—ahead of Sunday’s race in the Miami paddock as Donald Trump made an appearance. Trump was not a guest of either Formula 1 or McLaren, but was invited by a donor and friend who had a paddock club suite at the Miami International Autodrome.

The former U.S. President received a mixed response. Trump briefly appeared in the McLaren garage a couple of hours in advance of the race, pictured with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and was also to the side of the front of the grid during the national anthem.

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Donald Trump talks with race winner Lando Norris in Miami on Sunday.Rudy Carezzevoli - Getty Images

McLaren stressed in the aftermath that it is “a non-political organization however we recognize and respect the office of President of the United States so when the request was made to visit our garage on race day we accepted alongside the president of the FIA and the CEOs of Liberty Media and Formula 1. We were honoured that McLaren Racing was chosen as the representative of F1 which gave us the opportunity to showcase the world class engineering that we bring to motorsport.”

It is understood that the location of McLaren’s garage entry—directly opposite a walkway that led towards the paddock suites—played a key role for security purposes.

Trump, never one to shy away from attention, was typically magnanimous after a race won by McLaren’s Lando Norris. Trump's first visit to the McLaren garage came on the day that McLaren driver Norris went on to win his first F1 race.

“It was a great honor to see my friends at McLaren win the big Miami Formula 1 race,” Trump posted on his Truth Social platform. “It was the car I visited before the race, and endorsed—that’s what we need for our country—WINNING.”

f1 grand prix of miami
Yuki Tsunoda, right, races with Lewis Hamilton during the F1 Miami Grand Prix.Jared C. Tilton - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Tsunoda Quietly Impresses Again

Daniel Ricciardo captured the limelight in Saturday’s Sprint Race with fourth but his RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda had a quietly effective grand prix on Sunday. Tsunoda started from 10th place but improved to finish seventh, splitting the Mercedes drivers, as he also capitalized on a subdued weekend for Aston Martin.

Tsunoda has now scored in half of this year’s six Grands Prix, and is inside the top 10 in the Drivers’ Championship.

“His fourth Q3 appearance out of six races this season underlines how consistently he is performing and in the race he underlined his maturity with an intelligent, yet aggressive and super quick drive from tenth on the grid to seventh at the flag,” was the summary of RB’s team principal Laurent Mekies.

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Valtteri Bottas arrived in Miami only to find that his team had ditched his race engineer.Clive Rose - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Bottas Stews at Sauber

Valtteri Bottas is a low-key chilled figure but he cut an irritated stance—by his standards—when he arrived in Miami to discover that his race engineer had been replaced.

“I think it’s part of the kind of reconstruction for the team,” said Bottas, whose tone and body language said as much as the actual words. “Many of those decisions, they are not in my hands. And yeah, I don’t do those decisions.”

Bottas joined Sauber in 2022, under its Alfa Romeo guise, but after a strong start the team has regressed through the midfield and is now bottom of the championship. Alpine’s point on Sunday means only Williams and Sauber have yet to score in 2024, with Williams notionally ahead in terms of results countback.

Bottas is expected to depart Sauber at the end of the season, with one seat already taken by Hulkenberg, ahead of the team’s transition into Audi.

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Sebastian Vettel will get to take a spin in Ayrton Senna’s 1993 ride.Bryn Lennon - Getty Images

Vettel to Drive 1993 McLaren at Imola

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel will be back in the Formula 1 paddock at the next event in Italy. Vettel will be in attendance at Imola as part of the tributes to Ayrton Senna, who died at the circuit 30 years ago. Vettel is due to get behind the wheel of McLaren’s 1993-spec MP4/8, the car with which Senna claimed his final Formula 1 victory, for a demonstration run.