The Formula 1 Miami weekend was trailed as the most exciting event to hit F1 for decades. There was glitz and glamour and an A-list celebrity docket like never seen before at a Formula One event. Tickets were restricted to 80,000 a day as the promoter didn’t want traffic issues, queues for concessions and the bathrooms. After last weekend, it is looking increasely likely that F1 will lose what is considered a huge race weekend.
The race sold out in under an hour, never seen before in F1 history; the circuit construction and the temporary buildings were inordinately expensive with the result the promoter has lost way more money than budgeted for.
Tickets prices were second only to Monaco with a grandstand ticket price set at $600 a day. Paddock Club prices were $13,000 dollars though some were exchanged on secondary markets for around $35,000. Most European races see Paddock Club weekend costs at about $4-4500. The promoter cut corners on high end hospitality usually provided by FOM and the result was “a shit show” in terms of service for celebrities coughing up tens of thousands of dollars.
The event is expected to expand to around 100,000 fans a day for 2023, though this is well short of the 450,000 who attended the Melbourne race this year. Whether this increase in attendance will return the promoters’ losses is dubious to say the least.
Event CEO Tom Garfinkel originally predicted this years event would make money, though after the build began he felt there would be a small loss.
“The costs far exceeded our expectations,” he admitted to Sky Germany, “but that was because we did everything we could to develop the Formula 1 brand and the type of event that we wanted to represent.”
“It was very important to us to offer a great event,” said Garfinkel, justifying madcap expenses like the much-derided ‘fake harbour’.
Further, Garfinkel has had to deal with criticism from the drivers over the surface that Lando Norris described as “crap”. That will need to be relaid before F1 return to Miami. Garfinkel was trying to sweat the assets he already controls as boss of the Miami Dolphins and the Hard Rock Stadium. The land is already there, where not make more revenue from it.
Yet no one will continue to spend good money after bad and whilst Garfinkel says the event is agreed for a decade, surely no one can afford to repeatedly put good money after bad.