Man About Town: Mayor Suarez Lives It Up at Formula 1 2023

Mayor Francis Suarez kicks it with chef Mario Carbone at the American Express Presents Carbone Beach event on May 7, 2022, in Miami Beach.
Mayor Francis Suarez kicks it with chef Mario Carbone at the American Express Presents Carbone Beach event on May 7, 2022, in Miami Beach. Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images
As Formula 1 racing returned to Miami this month, questions arose about whether Mayor Francis Suarez would once again partake in glitzy Miami Race Week events — and if so, on whose dime.

A look at the mayor’s Instagram page might leave one thinking that he opted to lay low this year. Photos show him spending his Miami Grand Prix weekend embracing educators ahead of Teacher’s Appreciation Day and presenting keys to the city to YouTube personalities known as the Nelk Boys.

However, it appears Suarez, who is openly mulling a presidential run, had a glamorous few days when the Miami Grand Prix rolled into town.

A series of tagged photos on Suarez’s Instagram (@francissuarez) and elsewhere online reveals that the mayor was present at a host of swanky Formula 1 events, including a $6,000-a-person dinner party and the exclusive Carbone Beach pop-up, which costs a $3,000 per ticket. This comes as thousands of dollars in Suarez’s F1-related experiences from last year remained unaccounted for.

On May 11, after the F1 drivers and their fancy driving machines rolled out of town, Suarez sat down for an interview with Politico. When asked to share his thoughts on the progress of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' still-unannounced presidential bid, Suarez reportedly responded, "I'm not here to be a political commentator. I’m here because I’m a Hispanic mayor, a Republican, who was considering running for president."

White House aspirations aside, the mayor has become well-known for sidestepping questions about his pricey jaunts, including his trip to the World Cup in Qatar and his courtside seats at Miami Heat playoff games. While it's not yet clear whether he paid his own way into the Miami Grand Prix festivities or gained entry as a perk of Hizzonership, Suarez appears to have been living the high life during F1 week.  

F1 Campus $$$$$

Suarez appears to have made his way down to the racetrack repeatedly during Miami Grand Prix weekend. Instagram photos show him hanging around the ritzy Paddock Club, the exclusive VIP experience that cost upwards of $10,000 per ticket this year in Miami and boasts prime race views, gourmet dining, and "free-flowing champagne."

Sporting Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, and McLaren team shirts over the course of the weekend, the mayor was photographed alongside Miami music legend Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio, as well as Olivier François, the CEO of Fiat.

Carbone Beach $$$$

During Miami Grand Prix weekend, Suarez attended Carbone Beach, the four-night pop-up dinner event in South Beach. Hosted by Major Food Group, the event included a four-course meal by chef Mario Carbone, a 2,500-pound ice sculpture filled with seafood and caviar, and musical performances by Diddy, Diana Ross, and Lauryn Hill.

Tickets for the luxurious dinner parties were priced at $3,000 per person. Attendees included billionaire Jeff Bezos, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, Miami Dolphins' owner and real estate developer Stephen Ross (one of the Miami Grand Prix's primary financial backers), Jared Kushner, and Ivanka Trump. If people wanted a full table, they had to cough up $24,000.

Instagram posts and photos captured by World Red Eye appear to show Suarez was at the event two separate times (unless he had an outfit change). Page Six noted Suarez was seen chatting with Kushner and Ivanka at one point.

Luxurious Dining Event (Once Upon a Kitchen) $$$$

Instagram photos and World Red Eye snapshots show Suarez was one of a few hundred guests at the GR8 Experience's Once Upon A Kitchen event at the Deck at Gardens on May 5. Other guests included Lebron James' business partner Maverick Carter, Stephen Ross, Formula One Group CEO Stefano Domenicali, and former Olympic alpine skier Lindsey Vonn.

A ticket for the "world's most exclusive epicurean experience" with acclaimed chef Massimo Bottura from Italy's Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana was valued at $6,000.

The "multi-layered sensorial experience" featured a six-course dinner with dishes by Bottura and other world-renowned chefs including Juan Manuel Barrientos of Michelin-starred Elcielo Miami, and chef Bernardo Paladini from Dubai's Michelin-starred Torno Subito. Cocktails and unique elixirs were provided by renowned mixologist and molecular biologist Alex Ott.

"If you wanted to fly to Italy and try to get a reservation at Bottura's restaurant, which is nearly impossible, and pair it with all the talent and creations that will be at our event, you are actually getting a great value here," CEO Barnabas Carrega of GR8 Experience told New Times ahead of the event. "This will be a multisensory experience, and there are no events that are comparable."

DJ Benny Benassi, who is known for hits "Satisfaction" and "Cinema," capped off the evening with an exclusive performance.

Palm Angels Event (Invite Only)

On May 6, the night before the Miami Grand Prix, Mayor Suarez and his wife were spotted schmoozing alongside Victoria’s Secret models and F1 drivers at a private waterfront mansion to celebrate a collaboration between the Milan-based streetwear brand Palm Angels and America’s Haas F1 team.

The pre-race event, which included a three-course dinner catered by Miami Beach staple Casa Tua, featured guests like Miami heat star Tyler Herro, Brooklyn Beckham, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, and TikToker Alix Earle, according to Ocean Drive. Suarez’s presence was highlighted in a Vogue article about the exclusive dinner party.
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Alex DeLuca is a staff writer at Miami New Times.
Contact: Alex DeLuca
Naomi Feinstein is a staff writer at Miami New Times. She was born-and-raised in South Florida and is a graduate of the University of Miami where she majored in journalism and political science. While at UM, Naomi worked for the student-run newspaper The Miami Hurricane and was named the 2021 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Florida's College Journalist of the Year. She later received her master's degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism.
Contact: Naomi Feinstein

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