The organizers of the Miami Grand Prix are “open to changing whatever we need to” in order to improve racing, but say the chicane section was required due to space constraints.
Drivers were complimentary about the track layout apart from the slow-speed chicane under the Florida Turnpike (pictured above), while the surface itself also came in for criticism as there was little grip off the racing line.
The race’s managing partner and Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel says the first event will have offered insights into where the track can be improved, although not everywhere offers the potential for major revisions.
“We’re open to changing whatever we need to to make the track better,” Garfinkel said. “I think the challenge with the chicane – I don’t know if we communicated well enough why it exists and where it exists – but it’s a bit of a necessary evil, if you will, to get the track big enough to create the rest of the racetrack to be great.
“That area’s a tricky part where we really had to slow people down because we didn’t have enough run-off space. From talking to some folks at F1 and the FIA, I think there’s an opportunity to really change that a little bit to make it better, but it is a bit of a necessary evil to get everybody slowed down.
“The surface itself we’re evaluating. We want to make sure we get that right, because obviously if they can’t get outside the racing line there’s not going to be as much overtaking and that’s not good.
“We designed the track intentionally – I’m not the track designer but the direction that I wanted was to have as much overtaking as possible, to have when someone gets passed and then they get passed back.
“In terms of the DRS zones, maybe someone gets passed and then they get into Turn 17 and then they get passed back. There was a lot of that where you come into 17 on the inside and when you come out of it you’re on the outside because of the way the corners play off each other.
“So a lot of that was very intentional but if you can’t get out the racing line you can’t pass. So we’re going to take a really hard look at that and we’ll make whatever changes we need to – if we need to – to make the track as good as we can.”
A number of teething issues in hospitality areas will be addressed too, and Garfinkel says there will also be time spent looking at how to increase the overall capacity and if the race can do so up to six figures without diluting the fan experience.
“We’re going to go through a pretty intensive process to evaluate everything – the positives, the negatives, and as a team get together and evaluate it. One of the goals was to try and start… We certainly had demand to sell a lot more tickets but I wanted to get people in and out of here, concessions, bathrooms, all of those things, and try to do that really well.
“We’ll study where we were … and kind of see where the pain points were from the standpoint of were there any pinch points at pedestrian bridges where we needed to do a better job? Or the bathroom situations, concessions, traffic, etc. Once we evaluate that we’ll know where we can grow.
“I’d like to get to 100,000 a day. If we can get there next year we’ll do that, but if we don’t feel like we can do that and give everyone a great experience we’ll grow it more slowly.”