Tom Garfinkel, managing partner of the new F1 event in Miami, originally aimed to make a profit from the first race around the Miami Dolphins Stadium.
But higher-than-expected costs led to the loss of the Miami Grand Prix.
However, he says he has no regrets about the extra spending that has been made to ensure fans have a better time, and he thinks there will be longer-term payouts that will bring in bigger financial returns in the future.
“If you had asked me six months ago, I would have expected this to make money based on where the revenue was kept,” Garfinkel said of the sale.
“But based on where the costs have gone, we won’t make it this year. However, it was very important for us to hold a big event.
“The cost far exceeded our expectations, but it was because we were trying to do everything we could to be a first-class brand for what F1 is and the kind of event we wanted to provide.”
Garfinkel says one example where the extra money was spent was on arranging much of the parking lot at Hard Rock Stadium to make it a better environment for spectators.
“I think you go to a lot of races, for example, if you go behind the podium, it could just be a black top [asphalt]where bathrooms and concessions are.
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT03, Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri AT03
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
“But there is a lawn everywhere in the stands at the Beach Club. It serves many purposes. Number one, the black top is hot, and the lawn makes it cooler for people. It just looks cleaner, it looks nicer.
“It’s expensive to put, whatever it is, 30 acres of lawn outside. But we want to do things right. So we will keep trying to do things like that. ”
While one way to improve the balance sheet would be to dramatically increase the number of tickets on sale, Garfinkel said he takes care that too many people walk through the door if that jeopardizes the experience.
“We certainly had a demand to sell a lot more tickets, but I want to bring people in and out of here, concessions, bathrooms and all that stuff, to try to do it really well,” he said.
“We want to see in a way: are there any points of entrapment of pedestrian bridges where we need to do a better job? Are there situations in the bathroom, concessions, traffic, etc. that can be improved? So when we evaluate that, we will know where we can grow.
“I would like to reach 100,000 a day. If we get there next year, we will. But if we don’t feel we can do it and give everyone a great experience, we will develop it more slowly. ”
With a sold-out audience of 82,500 on race day and F1 delighted with the impact of the event, Garfinkel said he was delighted with the way things were going in the first race
However, he said that some key lessons were learned from things that did not go so well.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, online
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Pictures of motorsport
“There are a lot of things we learn that we think we can do better,” he said.
“And there are some things that are going very well. The feedback was very positive, from teams, drivers and F1, FIA. And the feedback we got from the fans: there are certainly some things I think we can improve on. But, for the first time, I think it went very well. “
One big problem that happened over the weekend was with the F1 Paddock club, with the team’s guests running out of food and service on Friday due to staffing issues.
Garfinkel acknowledged that Miami had made a mistake in that regard, but said the issue had been resolved – and would be further improved by 2023.
“We had problems preparing food,” he said. “It was not ideal.
“The biggest thing that happened was that a lot of our workers were late because they were boarded one bus at a time. And so when the guests arrived, not everything was prepared. They were not ready.
“When people show up, the first thing they want to do is go get something. And we didn’t do so well. “