Formula 1 Racing

How best-ever Miami GP defied fears over a Vegas F1 hangover

Tom Garfinkel meets Michael Andretti in the paddock

Just over five months on from a frantic – but highly successful – inaugural Vegas street race, a third Miami GP might have felt a little old hat for America’s recently acquired passion for F1. Had Miami been trumped?

But fears that Sin City had stolen all the limelight were allayed by a sell-out 275,000 Miami GP weekend crowd and a plethora of global celebrities, musicians and sports stars and even a former US President (and future candidate).

When asked by an American journalist if he thought Miami’s race had been diminished by the arrival of Vegas, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton replied: “Diminished? No, I think the sport’s got bigger here.

“It’s got a lot more awareness. Every city that I go to, people are excited. It’s now a sport here in the States. Before, it was just an event that arrived once a year. Now, we’re kind of a part of the culture here, which is really, really cool.

“It’s been amazing, and I think all of us are super grateful for the US finally embracing this sport and having the love and passion for it that we all have grown up with.”

Hard Rock Stadium president and CEO Tom Garfinkel, who is the managing partner of the Formula 1 event and the boss of the Miami Dolphins NFL team, explained to selected media including Autosport that he felt his event is proving out F1’s continued growth in the States.

“We are sold out; we’re over 275,000 tickets, he confirmed. “The grandstands, suites and hospitality mostly sold out last week.

“We sort of plan things to sell out right before the race, that’s how we like to do it. And we had some last-minute campus pass sales just over the last few days, but most of the tickets were already sold.

Tom Garfinkel meets Michael Andretti in the paddock

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

“We’re still kind of trying to limit capacity a bit to make sure we can deliver the experience. I think if we put 125,000 people a day in here, traffic would get worse, concessions and bathroom [queues] and everything would get worse.

“We anticipate growing the attendance in the future, but right now we’re trying to just keep delivering this great experience hopefully and grow it slowly.”

As well as a packed house, celebs like Ed Sheeran, Kendall Jenner, Luis Suarez, Danny Ramirez, Tom Brady, Alexandra Daddario, Camilla Cabello and Patrick Mahomes strolled the paddock.

There was clearly no reduction in star names wanting to be seen here, and it seems that fan interest…

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