Organizers for the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix are admitting that the inaugural event lost money.
It's clear that reaching the high expectations of a Miami race weekend cost more than the promoters had planned. Top race executive Tom Garfinkel said the otherwise popular and celebrity-filled F1 weekend came up a little short at the cash register.
In fact, Garfinkle says the losses were greater than were actually anticipated, even though he doesn't regret spending big to put the new street event on the map.
"If you'd asked me six months ago, I would have expected the event to make money given how revenue has been going," Garfinkel, also CEO of the Miami Dolphins football team and the Hard Rock Stadium. But if you look at expenses, we're not going to make any money this year."
He admits it's a blow, but insisted that by no means will it jeopardize Miami's new place on the Formula 1 calendar, which is guaranteed for at least another nine years.
"It was very important to us to offer a great event," said Garfinkel, justifying wild expenses that even included a fake marina within the circuit. "The costs far exceeded our expectations," he admits, "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."
The event was actually a three-day sell-out, so for the future Garfinkel is looking to expand the maximum circuit capacity of 85,000 to at least 100,000 if possible. The Associated Press reported that tickets never went on sale to the general public because of the early interest.
Garfinkel is also dealing with the post-race hangover of multiple drivers blasting the quality of the circuit layout and especially the tarmac surface, which Lando Norris calls "crap."
"There are a lot of things we can learn from and do better," Garfinkel said."But there are also some things that went really well. The feedback has been very positive from the teams, the drivers, Formula 1 and the FIA."