Rarely has the advent of a Grand Prix aroused so much impatience. In a few days, the 20 pilots will discover the Miami circuit, drawn around the Hard Rock Stadium, the haunt of other helmeted athletes, the Dolphins (NFL). Already three years since the second city of Florida was ready to welcome the great barnum of Formula 1. Associations of residents have delayed the project, and procedures are still in progress to try to prevent the event from next weekend. However, nothing seems able to curb the enthusiasm. When the ticket office opened in October, seats disappeared in less than forty minutes. Already, the Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, had set a record with more than 400,000 paying spectators over four days. A rather unexpected success in a country more focused on Nascar or IndyCar races.
“In Miami, we could have held three sold-out events”welcomes Stefano Domenicali, the boss of Formula 1. A success that he attributes to several elements. “We have developed a format that meets the expectations of the general public, and particularly Americans”, specifies the Italian leader. From now on, around the race itself are organized concerts, sports events. The presence of the pilots in the fan zones excites the crowd. “This proximity to the main actors is very much appreciated there”observed Domenicali in Austin, after the cancellation of the 2020 edition due to the pandemic.
“The market is large and there are many opportunities”
The United States is a particular customer of Drive to Survive, Netflix’s series behind the scenes of the championship, acclaimed by Liberty, American owner of Formula 1. The fourth season, released online in March on the platform, always has a great hit. The world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull) may well complain about the exaggerated scripting and announce that he would no longer participate, the public is widening and becoming more feminized. “In two years, the average age of people who are interested in our discipline has dropped by ten years, says Stefano Domenicali again. We make sure to speak their language”. In Miami, many showbiz stars want to discover the paddock. Among them, representatives of the American Music Awards, one of the great meetings of the music industry across the Atlantic.
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From 2023, a third race will be organized on American territory, in Las Vegas, at night. It’s hard to get more spectacular. The organizers are not the only ones to benefit from it. “F1 is still underrepresented in the United States despite it being the world’s strongest economy”, is almost surprised Günther Steiner, at the head of Haas, the only American team (pending the arrival of the Andretti team). This charismatic Italian, widely promoted by Netflix, recalls that not so long ago, between 2008 and 2011, American soil no longer received any Grand Prix. “The evolution is positive, he says, because the market is important and the opportunities are numerous. »
To those who fear that the globalization of Formula 1 will bottle up the calendar, Domenicali assures that there will be no more than 20 races per season in the future – against 22 currently. But the leader is still looking for new horizons to explore, like South Africa, which will host the fastest cars in the world from next season.