Lewis Hamilton denies Miami Grand Prix ‘diminished’ as race beds into F1 calendar

Thomas Maher
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton believes the Las Vegas Grand Prix's place on the calendar hasn't diminished that of Miami.

Lewis Hamilton believes the Miami Grand Prix’s place on the calendar has only solidified as a result of more US races being added.

Last year saw the United States get a third scheduled race on the calendar, with the Las Vegas Grand Prix joining the United States and Miami Grands Prix.

Lewis Hamilton: F1 has a lot more awareness

With the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Texas added to the calendar in 2012, the number of races in the States increased to two in 2022 with the arrival of the Miami International Autodrome.

Just a year later, the number increased to three as F1 developed the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which held its first race since 1982 last November.

Going up against the visual glamour of Las Vegas, racing down the famous Strip, as well as the more established success that has marked the Circuit of The Americas out on an annual basis, Miami’s identity looked less unique after its first two events were held as a more ostentatious alternative to the USGP.

But, with Las Vegas now having held its race, Miami’s 2024 event was its best yet – the circuit proving a tricky challenge for the drivers over the course of the Sprint weekend and delivering an interesting race that resulted in a new first-time winner in Lando Norris.

Speaking over the Miami Grand Prix weekend, seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton said he didn’t feel that the Miami event had been in any way diminished by the arrival of Las Vegas onto the calendar and that, instead, the increasing popularity of F1 in the United States has resulted in what he believes is a cultural shift.

“Diminished? No, I think the sport’s got bigger here,” he said, when asked about the imposition of the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Miami’s event.

“It’s got a lot more awareness. Every city that I go to, people are excited. It’s now a sport here in the States.

“Before, it was just an event that arrived once a year. Now, we’re kind of a part of the culture here, which is really, really cool. It’s been amazing, and I think all of us are super grateful for the US finally embracing this sport and having the love and passion for it that we all have grown up with.

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Speaking about the impact Miami has made during its three years on the F1 calendar, Williams’ boss James Vowles praised the organisers for having turned a nondescript piece of tarmac into a challenging F1 racetrack.

“If you compare where we are today, three years in, from where we were at the beginning, it’s an enormous change,” he said.

“This was a car park, fundamentally, that they converted into a top tier Formula 1 track.

“More so, I sort of rate things by how the atmosphere is on the grid. If you stand on the grid here at the race weekend, it’s got similar repercussions to where you are at Silverstone or otherwise. You have a fan base that is completely in support of us as a series. And that simply wasn’t the case three years ago.

“That’s through hard work and diligence by Tom [Garfinkel] and his team here.

“When you go to Vegas to here to COTA, all three are completely different.

“There are no real similarities between all of them. And that’s the great thing about it. Fundamentally, they’re different spectacles. But I think for all of us here, Miami is now for partners, for evenings, for effectively bringing in outside interest into the sport, top tier, if not the best out there.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Miami is just one of a number of contributing factors in transforming how America views Formula 1.

“I think they just need to keep doing what they’re doing,” he said.

“Tom Garfinkel and Tyler Epp are doing an awesome job. I think in between COTA, Austin, Miami, Vegas, Netflix, and the soon-to-be Brad Pitt movie, which of course will be global, I think all those elements are helping build our sport very quickly in North America. Of course, a new television contract.

“If you look at the way Tom and Tyler responded after year one, the improvements they’ve made were substantial and very good. They continue to do that. So I don’t see them sitting still. I think Miami is an awesome market that people like to travel to.

“So I think each one of these Grands Prix has their own personality. I think that’s one of the things that’s exciting about Formula 1. So I think they’re not sitting still. They’re constantly developing like we are our race cars. And I think it’s an awesome event and going to go from strength to strength.”

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