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What Miami F1 spectacle will and won't change for British GP

Miami’s fake marina, its Hard Rock Beach Club, the celeb fest and massive hype created a buzz around a new Formula 1 race that had not been seen for years.

A scenic view of the field lined-up on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C39 and Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C39 start at the rear

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

For F1’s owner Liberty Media it was a delight to see, as it delivered further proof that its bid to break the American market is paying off.

Off the back of it, there were also several comments about how the razzmatazz of it all would act as a wake-up call for other circuits to need to lift their game if they were not going to get left behind.

As McLaren CEO Zak Brown said ahead of the Miami weekend: “I think Miami is going to raise the bar for everyone.”

But for all the success of the Miami weekend, there is no denying that its target audience and what it was able to offer, were something that does not fit in all markets.

A fake Marina would be straight up weird stuck on the outside of Eau Route at Spa, and having mermaids wagging their tails in a pool would be completely out of place at Monza.

However, some important lessons can be taken away from the event, and current race promoters are well aware that pulling off a successful grand prix event nowadays is more than just about the offerings of F1 track action for a few hours each day.

That is why British Grand Prix boss Stuart Pringle was an interested observer of all that was going on in Miami as he continues his quest to make his Silverstone race bigger and better than ever.

He is quite right that transposing the Miami model in to rural Northamptonshire would not work.

“We are certainly two very different events,” he tells Autosport. “Would our fan base get on with this type of event? I don't think they would.

“So I don't feel it puts pressure on us, but I think it's given us a degree of sharpness to my focus of where I want to take the British Grand Prix over this next period.”

Marina atmopshere

Marina atmopshere

Photo by: Jon Noble

While Pringle's plan does not involve a fake marina (Silverstone already has a small lake down by Club), Pringle is clear that there are two key takeaways from the Miami GP: one of which it did well and one it didn’t.

Chief of these is in doing what Miami succeeded in - delivering a grand prix weekend that had a festival feel. This means a comprehensive entertainments package and a paddock buzz that made celebrities want to be there.

For 2023, Pringle is already working on a huge launch event concert on the Thursday of the British GP, having recruited Ivor Novello Award winning singer, songwriter and producer Jamie Scott to help in those plans.

But there is also a separate push by Silverstone in an area that was not so evident in Miami: sustainability.

“I think there are going be two important areas for Silverstone going forward,” he said.

“One is not evident here. In fact, quite the opposite is evident: which is sustainability. F1 wants to be a net zero championship by 2030. And I understand why that's not been a priority on this first event, but we must focus on it at Silverstone.

“I want us to be, if not the best promoter that F1 has from a sustainability perspective, certainly in the top two or three.

“But the element that I think this has helped crystallise in my mind as being important is this Super Bowl moment. So we're going to put a lot more focus on how we can create a British version of that.

“We are not Las Vegas. We are not Miami. But actually, we're a fantastic motor race, and we are already essentially a very fun, British summer festival.

“We are going to work together with Jamie Scott to massively raise the bar on the music at Silverstone. We want to launch next year's race with a stunningly good concert on Thursday, with truly world class artists.

“And I think if we can do that, with that camping, glamping - 'Gas-tonbury' festival - I think that's the right way for us to react.

“But it’s not me feeling under pressure. Our team has really pushed itself over the last five or six years to really raise up our game at the GP.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, celebrates with fans, from the stage

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, 1st position, celebrates with fans, from the stage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Miami’s success also delivered further proof of the continued impact of the 'Netflix effect'. As well as a young audience watching trackside, it was noticeable at the Hard Rock Stadium how F1 is now attracting more and more females on board.

But today’s success cannot be guaranteed tomorrow: which is why races have to ensure they deliver enough to get people back in the future.

“Netflix has been the most important thing to happen to F1 in years,” added Pringle. “And the audience is different: it's good news for everybody. We've got to capitalise upon it. You've got to keep them interested, you've got to get them to come back again."

Pringle sees a bigger picture at play here; and it’s a view shared by Miami GP chief Tom Garfinkel. A rising tide lifts all ships higher; and having bigger and better races on the calendar is good news for everybody in driving up interest in the sport.

“A good event in Miami is not a competitor to Silverstone,” said Pringle. “It's complementary.

“I've heard a number of British voices walking around here, we met lots of them on the plane coming out. But that's great. And why wouldn't they come here?

“If you're a sports fan, have a beach holiday watch a great race and it's achievable. It's self selecting with their pricing strategy here, but there are enough people that can afford to do it.”

For Pringle in particular, who is open that Silverstone's business model faced risks during the worst of the COVID pandemic, the future for his track is better now than it’s ever been.

With Silverstone selling out in record time this year, the British GP has never been in better health – and that is something that feedbacks in to F1 too.

“What's great about the success that we're enjoying, is it is allowing us to fast track the investment into Silverstone that has been so desperately needed for so long,” he said.

“The BRDC [which owns the track] is essentially not for profit, with the exception of providing biscuits to go with coffee. That's about what our members get.

“So the club is reinvesting the money that it is making in the GP in to Silverstone to ensure that we get a national sporting asset that benefits the sport as a whole.

“It's a good news story, because the fabric of the place was at a pretty low ebb after the Ecclestone years because we couldn't make any money.”

Fans cheer from the grandstands

Fans cheer from the grandstands

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

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