Zak Brown is already celebrating the success of the Miami F1 Grand Prix

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  • Zak Brown has been one of the biggest supporters of expanding Formula 1’s footprint in the US
  • F1 races in North America could soon make up almost a quarter of the F1 calendar.
  • With the addition of Vegas next season, F1 will have three races in America.

    You can’t blame McLaren boss Zak Brown if he walks around Miami this weekend with a little bulging chest.

    By all indications, the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix is ​​poised to be not only a maiden success by the end of the race on Sunday, but actually a pretty huge success.

    “Mega, mega! Brown responded when asked about the potential success of this weekend’s event, which is expected to draw several hundred thousand fans to the track for Sunday’s main event. “I’m American, so I have to go bigger! It’s a great place. I think Tom Garfinkel, the Formula 1, Miami Dolphins, promoter did an amazing job. It’s a real race track. You know, I think when you first hear something going around a stadium, people then start talking about Caesars Palace from what, 30-40 years ago? It’s definitely a real racetrack.

    “The demand from sponsors and fans has been outstanding unlike anything I’ve seen since I’ve been in Formula 1. It’s great to see the atmosphere. So I think in America you have to give a lot of credit to Austin (Circuit of the Americas), who also built a fantastic venue to bring Formula 1 back to America.

    “And now we have Miami, (and) soon Vegas (in November 2023). So I really like where we are in North America in terms of the popularity of Formula 1.”

    A California native who now lives in England, where he took charge of McLaren Racing in 2016, Brown has been one of the biggest supporters of expanding Formula 1’s footprint in the United States.

    This belief was further reinforced when US company Liberty Media purchased the entire F1 series for $4.4 billion in early 2017.

    The combination of Liberty Media and Brown’s influence has seen the international series add a second US race to the schedule this weekend in Miami and will see a third race added in November 2023 in Las Vegas.

    In total, unless F1 renews its expiring race agreement with Mexico City after this year, races in North America will soon make up nearly a quarter of the F1 calendar: the three US races, the Mexico City event and the Canadian Grand Prix. to Montreal.

    No other country will have as many F1 races as the United States once Las Vegas comes online next year.

    There have even been rumors that F1 may even add one more race in North America in the coming years – among the cities mentioned are Vancouver, Indianapolis, Chicago and New York – to make it even six events in the world. northern hemisphere, with the potential of a North American championship within a championship perhaps in sight as F1 heads towards a potential annual competition calendar of 24 or 25 races.

    But that’s just speculation for now.

    What is real is that Miami is here and the eyes of the racing world will be on it all weekend. The key will be to make Miami not only a success this weekend, but also to maintain it as an ongoing success that will continue to grow year after year, especially with all the buzz and anticipation that Las Vegas is already generating near 18 months in advance. .

    “Liberty’s commitment to Formula 1 has been tremendous”

    It will only help Las Vegas that F1 commits nearly $250 million in promotional seed capital to market the quality of an event and the fantastic hospitality it will produce.

    “Liberty’s commitment to Formula 1 has been tremendous,” Brown said. “And we will succeed Miami. Vegas, I think the fact that Liberty is skinning the game in parts of the business shows that they’re doing it because it’s going to take it to the next level.

    So far, while there have only been a few minor issues that have crept in, for the most part Miami has done just about everything right in the new F1 market.

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    “I think the fact that Liberty is skinning the game in parts of the business shows that they’re doing it because it’s going to take it to the next level.”

    Michael M. SantiagoGetty Images

    “Running a good freshman event, which is a challenge to do everything right, given its size, scale and novelty,” Brown said, will be the key benchmark once it comes to gauge Miami’s success for the first year. “But if you look at Austin (Circuit of the Americas), 10 years later, they had record attendance last year, Silverstone has been around for over 50 years and is already sold out. So I think having a big event and then making it last for decades is (one of the biggest keys).

    “If you look at the Grand Prix calendar, the Italy of the world, they’ve been popular for decades and decades. So, I think you just have to do it right, put on a good show for the fans, and I think there’s a huge amount of leads here.

    “I think Liberty has done an amazing job with Formula 1. And they’re trying to grow their business, our business, and the fact that they’re investing to build Formula 1, I think you can only applaud them for that. “Look at what they’ve done. Revenues are going up, racing markets are going up, so they’re putting their money where they say, and I think that’s great. We’re all benefiting from that.”

    Follow Autoweek contributor Jerry Bonkowski on Twitter @JerryBonkowski

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