From a police escort to the podium to football helmets for the top three, the Miami Grand Prix was full of gimmicks – none of which were appreciated by Bernie Ecclestone.
Formula 1 visited the Hard Rock Stadium for round five of the 2022 championship, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
Kicking off with the Opening Party on the Wednesday night that included a driver presentation on the podium and ending with the top three wearing football helmets as they sprayed the champagne on the Sunday, Miami tried something different.
While the numbers say it worked – 242,955 fans coming through over the three days, with a record 85,280 on race day – it was wasted on former F1 supremo Ecclestone.
“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.”
Formula 1’s popularity in America is growing, helped by Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ series, so much so that next season there will be three races in the United States.
Ecclestone’s comment was put to Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, who responded as per firstsportz.com: “Bernie can think what he wants. But the reality is everyone wants to be there now.”
And Maffei is not the only one who believes Ecclestone’s opinion no longer matters.
“Bernie was good in his time, he invented our sport, but technologies have changed,” said Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.
But while Miami brought in the fans, the drivers were not overly impressed with either the track or the racing.
Sergio Perez called the track surface a “joke”, with Daniel Ricciardo adding drivers “literally have to just stay on that one line otherwise you’re not really on the track anymore.
“So instead of making it a kind of a good challenge, it just makes it a little bit, in a way, like one-dimensional.”
Max Verstappen claimed the win in the 57-lap race, passing Charles Leclerc on lap nine to grab the lead and set up his third win of the season.
He trails the Ferrari driver by 19 points in the Drivers’ Championship.
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