Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Miami GP boss says fans "more open" to F1 sprint format

The president of the Miami Grand Prix believes that its relatively high percentage of ‘new’ American Formula 1 fans makes sense for it to adopt a sprint format for 2024.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19 leads at the start

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Tyler Epp, who was promoted to the role after the first Miami GP in 2022 and previously worked in American motorsports with Chip Ganassi Racing, says the requirement to evolve the event as it prepares for its third race of a 10-year deal with F1 was also key to making the move.

Miami and China will join the sprint race roster of six events in 2024, with Baku and Spa-Francorchamps reverting to standard formats. The Austrian, United States, Brazilian and Qatar GPs will retain their sprint weekends.

"As Tom [Garfinkel, managing partner of the race and CEO of the Miami Dolphins NFL team and the Hard Rock Stadium] has been very clear about, year to year we need to evolve – we can't be the same event every single season," Epp told Autosport.

"We will continue to build the business up on great racing and a quality experience for the fans, as Stephen [Ross, the Dolphins' owner] and Tom set out from the beginning.

"So, it was a combination of our relationship and partnership with F1, credit to them for being open to the discussion. We have a young lady on our team, named Katharina Nowak [senior director of business operations], who really brokered the deal with the team at F1.

"They deserve all the credit, and we're excited because we think it's a way to differentiate our race and gives our fanbase another way to view F1.

"We've been highly domestic over these last two years, in terms of our percentage basis, so I think we have some 'new' F1 fans – not all new – and they're probably a bit more open to the non-traditional format than some of the purists.

"And we'll do everything we can to ensure the purists have a wonderful experience too, but the new fans can also experience something different on Saturday."

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri AT04

This year, United States Grand Prix promoter Bobby Epstein reported that ticket sales weren't boosted when the COTA hosted a sprint race, but Epp said he was unconcerned as Miami has a different value proposition approach for its racegoers.

"We always want to see lift in all of our business units but that wasn't the intent for our decision," he said.

"The intent is to bring more value to the fanbase, to the people who come here. We're not chasing a number of people on campus, we're chasing the right number to allow the best experience for everyone who attends.

"But I don't think we did it to sell tickets. Bobby knows his business far better than I do, certainly respectful of that, but I think we have a different strategy to his. Austin has done a great job but part of their value proposition is the masses. It's like Silverstone, right? It's about big attendances.

"That has not been our approach, but that doesn't mean we won't continue to grow or put more people in grandstands. We put a lot of effort to make sure those people who buy a [general admission] ticket have a wonderful experience."

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, leads the field at the start

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, leads the field at the start

F1's teams are set to vote in January for a revamp of the sprint format, with grand prix qualifying expected to move back to Saturday, so the 'shootout' to set the sprint grid takes place on Friday.

Epp said it was essential for the sprint to retain world championship points to "legitimise" its role in the weekend.

"We want to deliver meaningful track action on each of the three days of the grand prix," he said. "I think that does matter. And credit to Stefano [Domenicali] and F1 for attaching world championship points to the sprint.

"Having spent time in North American motorsports for a decade or so earlier in my career, I remember the All-Star events and ideas that didn't have points, and they were always treated very differently.

"It legitimises the process a little bit."

 

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Sainz: McLaren F1 turnaround shows what Ferrari can achieve over winter
Next article Ferrari reveals F1 launch date for 2024 challenger

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe