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Miami GP Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

Miami GP: Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

05/05/2024

Despite comparisons, the Miami Grand Prix carves its own unique identity, shining distinctively on the Formula 1 calendar.

Miami GP Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

The United States hosts three Formula 1 Grands Prix each year, in Miami, Austin, and Las Vegas. Miami was the showcase for Formula 1 in 2022, but this position was somewhat challenged by Las Vegas last year. According to Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren, one does not preclude the other and the two races are perfectly compatible without changing course.

“I think they just need to continue doing what they are doing. Tom Garfinkel and Tyler are doing a great job. Between COTA, Austin, Miami, Vegas, Netflix, the upcoming global Brad Pitt movie, I think all these elements help to rapidly build our sport in North America,” said Brown.

“Of course, a new television contract. If you look at the way Tom and Tyler reacted after the first year, the improvements they made were substantial and very good. They continue to do so. So I don’t see them staying idle.”

“I think Miami is a great market where people love to go. I think each of these Grands Prix has its own personality. I think that’s one of the most exciting things about Formula 1.”

Miami GP Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

“So I think they are not staying idle. They are constantly developing, just as we do with our race cars. I think it’s a great event and it will only continue to grow.”

“Not really any similarities” between Miami and Las Vegas

James Vowles, the head of Williams, praises the excitement around Miami and also encourages its promoters not to change direction: “The same goes for me. I’ve met Tom. If you compare where we are today, three years later, compared to where we were at the beginning, it’s a huge change.”

“It was a parking lot that was converted into a top-level Formula 1 circuit. Moreover, I judge things based on the atmosphere on the grid. If you stand on the grid here and on the race weekend, the vibes are the same as at Silverstone or elsewhere.”

“You have a fan base that fully supports us as a series. That simply wasn’t the case three years ago. And that’s thanks to the hard work and diligence of Tom and his team. Again, to echo Zak’s point, when you go to Vegas, here, or to COTA, the three are completely different.”

“There aren’t really any similarities between them. And that’s what’s great. Fundamentally, these are different shows. But I think for all of us here, Miami is now a premier venue for partnerships, parties, external interest in the sport, if not the best there is.”

Miami GP Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

How Miami Aims to Become a ‘Destination’ on the F1 Calendar

For the three years it has been on the calendar, the Miami Grand Prix has been searching for its identity and place.

Not as popular as Austin, nor as grandiose as Las Vegas… how can we define the identity of this Grand Prix in Florida?

Tyler Epp, the president of the Miami Grand Prix, provided an update in this third year of the Grand Prix.

What is Tyler Epp’s priority? To capitalize on wealthy clients? To make it a ‘sea, sex, and sun’ destination by leveraging the image of Miami and Florida? Or to primarily increase the fan base?

“Firstly, in this third year, we feel more comfortable, we feel that we will meet the expectations, and we will be at the level that F1 and the FIA expect,” Epp stated.

Miami GP Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

“On the other hand, this allows us to be a bit more creative and have a bit more freedom to say, ‘What about this? Let’s try this.’ And I think you will see that this year: firstly, for the things we were doing well, let’s try to do them even better; and for the things we were not as satisfied with, let’s adjust and correct them.”

“Finally, thirdly, let’s try new things and not forget that we are building a fan base here. We are building a base in South Florida, in Miami, but also across the country and around the world.”

“We want Miami to be a destination. That’s why you will notice a bit more commitment to what we consider to be car culture in South Florida, just by walking around the campus. There are more car exhibits, there is more action on the tracks.”

“Obviously, the Porsche Carrera Cup series is back, we are thrilled to welcome Susie Wolff and the F1 Academy, and there are also events like the Bonhams auction on Saturday evening. There is an increase – and it’s intentional – in the inclusion of cars and automobiles in what is a major automotive racing event. We must not forget that.”

Miami may not seem as popular a destination as Austin… but it’s true that the Texas Grand Prix has much lower prices…

However, Epp reassures: Miami will still be sold out this weekend. Really?

“Our stands will be filled. Particularly on Sunday, we will exceed last year’s attendance figures, we are confident about that.”

“I would say it’s a different challenge. As we start to talk about the circuit, the event, and what’s happening there, the thing we think about the most is making sure to recognize and thank the fans who have been coming to see us for three years now.”

“We’ve asked them to help us build this core fan base, not only in Miami but also on a national level, and then to work with other promoters in North America to make sure we’re doing what’s right for the sport as a whole—and that we continue to invest in our core fans.”

Isn’t there actually a competition between the Miami and Las Vegas Grands Prix, especially in terms of glitz and glamour? And the Las Vegas Grand Prix is directly supported by FOM, Liberty Media, and their leaders Greg Maffei and Stefano Domenicali…

Doesn’t Tyler Epp have competitors who are too formidable? Does FOM give the Miami promoters any freedom?

“Greg and Stefano deserve credit for allowing each promoter to represent the market in which they operate. We are encouraged to do this, we are asked to do this. So, when you go to Austin, it doesn’t feel the same as Miami, Vegas, Montreal, or Mexico.”

“Listen, the product is always a high-level and wonderful experience for the fans—the F1 product itself. And that’s what everyone does so well. But I think the promoters have the freedom to say, ‘Yes, but this is the Austin version of F1, and this is the Miami version.'”

“And that’s certainly how we feel; we’ve always wanted people to come here and feel like they’ve visited Miami, and to enjoy the art, culture, food, and entertainment. It’s more than just a race.”

“For motorsport fanatics, it remains a wonderful motorsport experience. But it allows us to set up experiences that appeal to multiple segments of the population. And that’s what we’ve bet on in recent years.”

“But we also have this ability to work with other promoters, not only in America but also in North America, to make sure we’re growing this fan base and giving them things to keep them engaged with us—that’s also part of our responsibility.”

Miami GP Unique Identity Amidst Las Vegas Glamour

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