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Miami F1 CEO "lucky" to be alive to see through GP dream

Miami F1 CEO "lucky" to be alive to see through GP dream

F1 News

Miami F1 CEO "lucky" to be alive to see through GP dream

Miami F1 CEO "lucky" to be alive to see through GP dream

Miami F1 GP CEO Richard Cregan has revealed he is "lucky" to be alive to see a five-year plan finally come together with this weekend's grand prix.

After overseeing the introduction of races in Abu Dhabi and Russia in the past, Cregan was appointed to his new role in the spring of last year to see through the dramatic transformation of the area around the Hard Rock Stadium.

But in October he was struck by the coronavirus.

"I spent two weeks in ICU and then a further two weeks in hospital after that," said Cregan.

"When I got home I was out for a month. I just couldn't walk. I was lucky, although I have lost my hearing in my left ear.

"I was very lucky I was here [in Miami] as I had very good care. It was a bit of a scary time, and my family couldn't travel to see me because, obviously, it was Covid."

The irony for Cregan is he caught Covid while watching a Miami Dolphins - in London.

"That's where I got it," added Cregan. "I then went back through Dublin to see the family, gave everybody Covid, yet I was testing negative.

"But then I got back here and just bang! Touch wood, I'm now okay."

Hard Rock transformation cost $60m

A few months on, and Cregan was on hand to unveil what has taken a remarkable nine months to remodel, although has been five years in the making for Miami as a location since it first registered its interest in staging F1.

Initial plans to stage an event downtown were rejected before billionaire entrepreneur Stephen Ross, the owner of the Dolphins, stepped in and offered the Hard Rock as a venue.

It is understood the transformation investment stands at around $60million [£49m].

"There's been a massive investment by Mr Ross, and he's done that completely off his own back, with no help from anybody," said Cregan.

"It will take two or three years to get to a situation where we're comfortable with the product, comfortable with the profitability, and all those things.

"The first, and second years are always the more difficult in terms of the investment that has to be made.

"But we know what we need to deliver on now is expectation. That is probably the biggest challenge."

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