F1 Miami Grand Prix Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

f1 grand prix of miami
F1 Miami Grand Prix Keeps Getting BetterBSR Agency - Getty Images

Formula 1 visited Miami for the third time last weekend and produced its most entertaining race so far, capped by a popular maiden victory for McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Autoweek was among the publications which heard from Miami Grand Prix managing partner Tom Garfinkel on the event’s evolution, and hopes for the future.

Miami’s First Sprint: Lesson Learned

Miami was one of the six grands prix to hold a Sprint Race in 2024, marking the first time that the mini-race was run at the Miami International Autodrome.

It was not the most enthralling encounter but from a promoter’s perspective it had a positive impact.


“I think it's great for the fans,” said Garfinkel. “I think it just adds more excitement to have another race and made Saturday more fun than if we didn't have one. We’d love to have it moving forward.”

2024 formula 1 miami grand prix
Improvements were noticeable for Year 3 in Miami. Anadolu - Getty Images

Sprint’s scheduling for noon—as the first Formula 1 track activity of the day—did create some lessons if the format is retained in Miami in 2025.

“So one thing that we learned was that, you know, we need to do better next year is we had scheduled the turnstiles to be open at a certain time,” said Garfinkel. “And we had a lot of people queued up, so we opened them about 25 minutes early. But in hindsight, we should have just planned to open them earlier. I don't think we expected that many people to be here that early.”

Garfinkel has regularly highlighted that ingress and egress are of vital importance to Miami organizers, most notably on Fridays, when race traffic is accentuated by regular weekday traffic.

2024 formula 1 miami grand prix
Officials put the crowd count at 275,000 for the three-day race weekend. Anadolu - Getty Images

Increase in Spectators

Miami’s grand prix had 230,000 spectators in 2022, 270,000 in 2023, and this year there were 275,000 across the three days, working out at just under 92,000 each day.

There was also year-on-year stability as an event in general, after 2023’s Grand Prix featured the debut of the Team Village inside the Hard Rock Stadium, extension of the permanent paddock building, widening of the now permanent pedestrian bridges, and a fully resurfaced track—as well as the smoothing of track issues that cropped up in 2022.

The overall venue in 2024 definitely felt like an evolution on 2023, with the retained Team Village popular for personnel and the atmosphere enhanced from the fans at the 300 level of the stadium.

“We're still kind of trying to limit capacity a bit to make sure we can deliver the experience,” Garfinkel says. “I think if we put 125,000 people a day in here, you know, traffic will get worse and concessions and bathrooms and everything would get worse.

“We anticipate to grow the attendance in the future. But right now we're still trying to… it’s year three, let's make sure we keep delivering this great experience, hopefully, and grow it slowly. Eventually, we'd definitely like to get over 100,000 a day. And it's just going to be a matter of, you know, just monitoring how well we're delivering that experience.”

raising cane's owner todd graves hosts celebrity friends for f1 miami grand prix race
Organizers for the F1 Miami Grand Prix aren’t the only ones who like what they see.John Parra - Getty Images

Keeping Miami Miami

Formula 1’s development in the United States in recent years has been strong, with the annual Grand Prix in Austin (which debuted in 2012), joined by Miami and Las Vegas in successive seasons (2022, 2023).

The third edition of the Miami round was the first held since Las Vegas’ debut, with the respective U.S. rounds gradually carving out their identities.

“Miami, Austin and Las Vegas are all three very different cities with three very different cultures,” says Garfinkel. “We're trying to be uniquely Miami here, and Vegas does what Vegas does, and Austin does what Austin does. And I think those differences are all positive, because it means that fans can choose which one they enjoy the most, or choose to go to all three and have different experiences at all three. So we're just trying to do what we do here and be Miami and try to do things a little differently and do some things that are fun.

“I often say, you know, having been around motorsport a long time, I've never watched a race with someone and been able to turn them into a racing fan, but I've never taken someone to a race and shown them everything and had them not turn into a racing fan. So I think these events are really important for casual fans to come out to enjoy a beautiful day and to have great food and be able to walk around and experience life with friends and have a good time.

"And then they learn about the racing, and then they fall in love with the racing and they want to watch it on TV. And so, you know, these events are great for that. And I think it all ensures to the benefit of growing the sport in the United States.”

TV figures released for Miami by ESPN showed that an average of 3.1 million fans tuned in to ABC’s telecast—the largest live TV audience for an F1 race on record in the U.S.

Impact on The City

Downtown Miami is a hive of activity during the course of the Grand Prix weekend, with activations and fan zones, while at the high end there were still a plethora of celebrities in attendance. That is an encouraging element for race organizers, in terms of interest from hardcore racing fans and influential figures, given that the newness factor has now worn off.

According to an independent economic study published last July claimed that the local economy benefited to the tune of $449 million from the 2023 event, up 29% on 2022, with figures from 2024—obviously—yet to be assessed. But given the attendance, and the reduced costs for organizers now that the amenities are all in place, the financial outlook is likely to be brighter still.

“I think Miami, you know, I've been here now 10 years, and it's probably changed more in the last three years than the seven years before it,” says Garfinkel, pointing to Miami’s development as a city of culture, sporting ventures, fine dining, and entertainment. “I was at [restaurant] Carbone Beach with people, you know, there are some of the wealthiest people in the world. There are CEOs of some of the biggest companies in the world.

"There are NFL players, NBA stars, music stars, you know, and they're all converging and hanging out and spending time together and we're all kind of looking at each other. I was with one CEO of a huge bank, and he's just like, I can't believe this room, you know? And he's been in a lot of rooms.

“I think the people that didn't come in year one had FOMO (fear of missing out) and wanted to come in year two. And then the people that maybe missed the first two years want to come this year and some of the people that were here [want to come back]. We'd love for this event to become the type of event, you know, like the Super Bowl or Wimbledon or the Masters or something, where it's like, that's an event you need to attend and you need to go to. And, I think it's got the potential to become that.”

Catering for all fans

There has been a misnomer since Miami’s debut that it is an event exclusively for the super-wealthy, flashy, influencer set, an image accentuated by the way the grand prix is promoted. Sure, Miami isn’t an event where you sit on a grass bank, or atop an RV, next to a BBQ, from dawn till dusk. It also isn’t the Indy 500, and it isn’t the Daytona 500. But Garfinkel rejected criticism that regular fans are being priced out.

“There was someone sent out a tweet the other day that showed, a lobster roll [at the Hard Rock hospitality area] was $280, and they sent it out without comment, or the context,” he says. “The context that wasn't included is that it was for a suite. It was a lobster roll for probably 10 people for $280.

“I think it was really fun to see, really probably for the first time in three years, the 300 level of the stadium was almost half full,” Garfinkel adds, referring to the level of the Hard Rock Stadium from which spectators can watch the Team Village, cheering on drivers.

raising cane's owner todd graves hosts celebrity friends for f1 miami grand prix race
There was plenty of action off the track in Miami.John Parra - Getty Images

“If you look right there,” he says, pointing to the outside of Turn 1, “there's risers where people can stand on there. If you buy a campus pass for $150 a day, you can stand right next to the racetrack. And those risers exist on multiple areas around the racetrack. You can go upstairs at the top of the stadium, walk around, see most of the track. The concessions are open just like they are for football. So there are options that are less expensive. And there's a lot of them all over the campus.

“And then there's some options that are more expensive. And then there's some options that are really expensive because Mario Carbone is there making your vodka rigatoni. And it's going to cost a lot of money. So I think we're just trying to provide options across that spectrum. And sometimes people are going to point one thing out and say, ‘that's really expensive,’ without providing the context that it's actually a lobster roll for a suite for 10 people. Right? So there are inexpensive options and that that is important to us.”

The Future

Miami has a 10-year deal and planning well under way for next year’s event, across May 2-4, with Formula 1 having announced its 2025 schedule remarkably early.

Organizers expect the early May date to be retained long term, given the ideal manner in which Formula 1 slots into the Hard Rock Stadium’s busy schedule events, which include the NFL season, the Miami Open tennis tournament, and a roster of concerts and other sporting events during the summer. In 2025, the schedule will include Copa America soccer—including the final—and in 2026 Miami will be a host of the FIFA World Cup. Early May is also suitable in terms of weather.

A race start time of 4 p.m. local is also likely to be retained in 2025.