Ecclestone unimpressed by ‘stupid’ Miami Grand Prix

The inaugural Miami Grand Prix raised many eyebrows but the event did a good job at winning over more fans in the US.

The inaugural Miami Grand Prix left little to the imagination, with the weekend being full of gimmicks, celebrities who didn’t know what Formula 1 was and a harbour with fake water.

The Grand Prix became a five-day event, with Wednesday night kicking-off proceedings with a driver presentation in front of the Hard Rock Stadium, followed by somewhat of a party.

The podium presentation on Sunday was also given an American-twist, with the top three walking out onto the rostrum wearing American football helmets.

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The podium presentation became strange before they’d even stepped-foot on the rostrum, as the top three were given a classic American police escort to the podium, which was on the other side of the circuit.

Incredibly, the gimmicks and party atmosphere appear to have won over the American fans.

242,955 was the total attendance across the traditional three days of running, with the race alone attracting 85,280 fans, a new record for the Hard Rock Stadium.

It also went down a treat with American viewers, with ESPN reporting that the Grand Prix attracted an average 2.6 million viewers, making it the most watched F1 race in American TV history.

However, back at the circuit, drivers were less impressed with the weekend.

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The track caused a number of issues, including two heavy crashes for Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon, the latter recording 51G.

Both crashed at relatively low speed at the same corner, but both hit the same unprotected concrete barrier.

Sergio Pérez was quick to call the track surface a “joke”, with Daniel Ricciardo adding that it was virtually impossible for anyone to overtake.

 “Literally have to just stay on that one line otherwise you’re not really on the track anymore.” said Ricciardo.

“So instead of making it a kind of a good challenge, it just makes it a little bit, in a way, like one-dimensional.”

The drivers weren’t the only ones who disliked the circuit, with former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone slamming the entire Grand Prix.

Ecclestone, whilst talking to Bloomberg, insisted that the way F1 is run today “isn’t the way I ran things”.

“They are producing Formula 1: American Style,” the 91-year-old told Bloomberg.

“It may well be that it’s good, because so many stupid things come out of America and everyone’s happy, but it wasn’t the way I ran things.”

America has become a huge platform for the sport over recent years, with the F1 Netflix series ‘Drive to Survive’ being a massive hit in North America.

The growth has been so rapid that the championship will go across the pond three times in 2023, with races at Miami, Las Vegas and Texas.

Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, responded to Ecclestone’s comment stating that the 91-year-old can “think what he wants”.

“Bernie can think what he wants. But the reality is everyone wants to be there now,” Maffei said.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff, who has been a supporter for Ecclestone in the past, agreed with Maffei that the sport has “changed” since the former supremo’s time.

“Bernie was good in his time, he invented our sport, but technologies have changed,” concluded Wolff.