Liberty risk 'diluting' F1 in USA with Miami GP

Thursday, 12 july 2018, 06:01 , by Matthew Scott

The promoter of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas has admitted concerns that adding an event in Miami to the Formula 1 calendar in 2019 could backfire as Liberty Media attempts to gain more fans in the USA as quickly as possible.

F1 revealed earlier this year that they would seek to add a street race in downtown Miami to the 2019 schedule in September.

Liberty's first race deal struck under their stewardship has been fraught with issues, ranging from driver dissatisfaction over the proposed track and angry local residents opposing the entire event.

The latter is believed to be behind a delay in signing off a deal to hold the race, with Liberty missing its own deadline to conclude the deal by.

READ MORE: Miami Grand Prix already under threat

The Circuit of the Americas has hosted F1 each year since 2012, helping boost the sport's popularity in America massively, however the race's chief organiser is now worried.

"I think in the long term it can be good. But there is a risk. There is clearly a risk to diluting the product before the fan base has increased," COTA promoter Bobby Epstein told Motorsport.

"But when the long-term goal is to increase the fan base, it is a chicken or egg scenario. Which comes first? In the early years it remains to be seen if that is a positive for us.

"The first year, you haven't increased the fanbase, but you've increased the options, so it will be tough at first. We will see how it impacts us."

Although Epstein has admitted concerns over the plans, he says he is determined to help Liberty achieve its aim of adding a second Stateside race to the calendar as soon as possible.

"There are hundreds of millions of people in North America, so my mindset is to be optimistic," he said.

"I'm certainly a little apprehensive, but very optimistic that it is a race against time as to whether or not you can build the fanbase before the pain of splitting up the fans takes its toll.

"We want it to happen and we want it to happen fast. And I think we share that with Liberty."

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Comments (21)

  • TJ Himes
    One is perfect. There's not enough interest to expand right now. COTA is an amazing track and venue. It's nice to be able to 50 secs of track time compared to the 6 secs at the hairpin in the Canadian GP. The city of Austin is better suited for the amount of people it draws, even though Miami has the elite lifestyle appeal. The first year will be honeymoon numbers. Is it sustainable? I don't think so.
  • Mike Megyesi
    I would think it would depend on the TV ratings in the US. If they're high, then I can see two races on opposite ends of the country and the schedule. If those ratings are low, don't bother crossing the pond.
  • Joey Bridges
    you mean like it's diluted in europe ?? c'mon, get over your euroself. we can easily support two to three races here in the states. just wish they'd return to the glen. and run at road America.
  • Mike Collada
    Coming from an F1 fan who lives in South Florida, I can absolutely confirm that adding Miami to the calendar would add great benefits to F1. And that's obviously a completely unbiased opinion.
  • Ken Ballard
    We could use another race but I'm struggling with Miami for some reason. I say bring back Watkins Glenn but I get it's proximity to Montreal. Welcomed choices! #vb77 #weareracing
  • Greg Valdez
    We only need one, and I'm down for a new circuit replacing the current one but I don't think Miami is the answer.
  • Martin Hossell
    Of course it’s going to back fire. Too many street races nowadays. Why did they want F1 in Miami? Build proper circuits
  • Chris George
    There are too many races on the schedule already. Give the teams a break. Christ.
  • James Wolford
    Whatever happened to India, they was like one race? Right? Or was that a dream?
  • Shaun Ross
    So do we only need 1 in Europe as well or risk diluting the market there?
  • Dan Hollenbaugh
    Go back to Indy again. Indy and COTA would be perfect bookends.
  • Jody Harrison
    The US doesn't even care enough about F1....
  • Chris Fitton
    Do we need any races in the middle east??
  • Jose Antonio Perez
    Not even one is necessary.
  • Andre Silvestre
    We never need usa at past..
  • James Bursley
    Bring Watkins Glen back.
  • Tony Castaneira
    3 or 4 would be just right
  • Federico Tombolini
    Elkhart Lake.

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