Formula 1 is getting close to its target of a Super Bowl-style event in the United States with the Miami Grand Prix, but won’t try and replicate it everywhere, says the sport’s managing director of motorsports, Ross Brawn.
Miami hosted its first F1 race last Sunday and delivered an impressive event, with huge interest seeing a number of celebrities attend alongside nearly a quarter of a million fans across the weekend. There was also a record 2.6 million TV audience on ABC for the grand prix itself and F1’s managing director of motorsports says Miami is the type of race the sport was hoping to create.
“We’ve always had this ambition to emulate the Super Bowl, especially in America, and I think we’re getting close now,” Brawn told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “Of course our event is over several days, but it’s fabulous.
“Clearly it’s not an approach that will work in every country or every track or every environment, but it’s a great template for this sort of event and just to see people enjoying themselves so much — they’ve got a race to watch and everything else going on, but all the rest of the activities are just sensational.”
Brawn was speaking ahead of the grand prix itself taking place, and says the track was an area of major focus for the race organizers when designing the Miami campus.
“I think obviously we were very involved with the design of the track and the development of the track and so on, but not so involved with everything else that has been done and it’s absolutely incredible. Fabulous. I think through this whole process, the promoters — the (NFL) Dolphins — have always said the track is paramount. We have to have a great track, and then they’ll build everything around it and that’s exactly what they’ve done, and it’s just sensational.”
But Brawn also believes F1 has adapted the way it approaches events in new territories by making sure it is relevant to that market, alongside trying to create a better racing product in general.
“It wasn’t just exploiting the commercial model. If you take the example of the car, the cars we’re racing now are cars that we’ve had a very strong input into the design of because we want to have racing cars — the clue is in the name! It’s a racing car, and the old cars couldn’t race each other because the aerodynamics were so extreme it made it impossible to have a good race.
“So these cars we’ve been very involved in, we’re involved in every aspect. We’re involved in helping the track design, we’re involved in helping the car design, we’re involved with the race format — we’ve introduced the Sprint format which was a new initiative — so we’re much more involved in the whole event and making sure the event appeals to the fans and appeals to all the promoters and all our partners.”