It’s Lights Out and Away We Go With F1 at FIU

A picture of the F1 watch party event's at NXT level gaming. (Picture by F1atFIU)

By Paula Silva

What started as one FIU student being passionate about F1 turned into an international community of racing fans

With a community of over 120 members and an Instagram account with over 1,400 Followers, F1 at FIU brings the race day experience to Miami. 

That is the story of Aaron Amarant, a business student at Florida International University who wanted to spend his race Sundays with the company of other fans. Amarant has been a passionate Formula 1 fan for years, but he struggled to find people that shared that interest. 

The 20-year-old decided to create a community within FIU that united F1 fans. Amarant started promoting an event in early April to watch the Australian Grand Prix that took place at 1:00 a.m.; however, he didn’t have a place to host this event. NXT LVL Gaming offered the F1 at FIU club founder to use their spaces for the events, taking full advantage of their screens and sound equipment. 

The word started spreading around, and before he knew it, the club had over 15 members.

“The club turned into something that looked really official, really fast,” said Amarant “I told my mom: I’m just trying to make friends here, and I feel like this is the best way to make friends who have the same interests” 

A regular race Sunday includes people arriving at the watch party around 20 minutes before the race starts, giving them enough time to chat and eat some of the catered food provided by the club.

F1atFIU’s event flyer for this weekends Grand Prix (Photo curtesy of F1atFIU)

Amarant has a sports card business, and he brings cards to give away every few races, and if you’re in luck, you may win an autographed card.

With the club being created just before the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, more people became interested in joining the F1atFIU group. Their followers grew, and more people connected to the Whatsapp group chat.

Emotions run through every fan’s veins as they hear the engines starting before each race, and despite many people having opposite interests, respect has always been the number one rule when people gather to watch the race. 

It doesn’t matter if members support top drivers such as Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen or Charles Leclerc, or if they choose to support the “underrated” drivers such as Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll, or Mick Schumacher.

“There’s a certain level of appreciation that we’re all just here together, which is the foundation of what we’re doing,” shared Amarant “Yes, people like different teams, but overall, we just like the sport.”

Amarant has big plans for the club in the future, and none of these events would be possible without the help of the Vice President Carlos Martinez and the treasurer Maximiliano Moyano. 

“I’d say the biggest achievement so far has been the awareness of the club,” Amarant said. “I’m blown away by how many people know about the club already, and how many people show up to the event.”

The next big event will take place on Oct. 23 at 12:30 p.m. at The One building located in University City. Fans will be able to connect with each other over BBQ, and the event will continue in NXT LVL Gaming where the race will be broadcasted at 3:00 p.m.

Make sure you follow them on Instagram @F1atFIU 

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