How The Miami Grand Prix Became A Billionaire’s Playground And The Biggest F1 Event In U.S. History

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How The Miami Grand Prix Became A Billionaire’s Playground And The Biggest F1 Event In U.S. History

As the dust settles on a historic McLaren win that saw young British driver Lando Norris atop the podium for the first time in the burgeoning Formula 1 career, the official viewing figures show that American fans’ love for the sport has never been higher.

Against the backdrop of the Miami Grand Prix, the biggest names in sports, music, business and politics converged on the track, adding their own unique flair to the highly sought-after North American event.

Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler was seemingly enjoying himself as the self-appointed president of the Lando Norris Fan Club; Ed Sheeran was performing, rocking a limited edition Audemars Piguet as he met the drivers – although his elite fashion sense didn’t exactly extend to his questionably Met Gala fit; and YouTube sensation turned professional boxer Jake Paul was supporting Ferrari before taking on Mike Tyson in July.

Even former U.S. President Donald Trump made an unexpected appearance at the McLaren garage before the cars lined up for this year’s Grand Prix.

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With all the talk about last year’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, which proved to be one of the biggest spectacles of the season, the Miami Grand Prix last weekend offered a valuable insight into the increased appeal of the sport in the U.S., with American A-listers clamouring to score themselves a ticket to the biggest North American circuit of the year.

At home, more than 3.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Lando Norris’ maiden Formula 1 win, a significant jump on the previous record of 2.6 million people set in Miami in 2022. ESPN also reported that 946,000 viewers watched the Sprint before the main event, the most since the 19-lap race was introduced.

With these staggering numbers, the 2024 Miami Grand Prix has cemented its place as the largest Formula 1 event in U.S. history.

Image: Getty

Days before the event, Bloomberg reported that Tesla tycoon Elon Musk was dining with Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos at Miami’s Carbone Beach, an extravagant beach club that welcomed the likes of Ivanka Trump and Patrick Mahomes for the race. The three men have a combined net worth of $439.2 billion USD (~$668 billion AUD).

It speaks to a wider transition of financial power from traditional circuits to emerging venues like the Miami Grand Prix, emblematic of Formula 1’s growing appeal in the U.S.

Whilst the Monaco Grand Prix, the annual street circuit held in the shadow of the enduring opulence of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, maintains its rich heritage in the world of Formula 1, the Miami Grand Prix has emerged as a billionaire’s playground and the perfect setting to flex some financial muscle.

Image: Getty

In addition to the influx of big bucks into Miami, the city’s sporting heritage, anchored by global franchises like the Miami Heat and Inter Miami, solidifies its status as a premier sports destination in the U.S., catering to the super-rich residents who call this tropical paradise home. Miami’s rise as a sporting hotspot is undeniable.

The notable surge in viewership at home underscores the growing popularity of Formula 1 in the United States reflecting a broader trend of increased interest and engagement with the sport across the country. For all the criticism levelled at the introduction of a third Grand Prix in North America last year, the numbers simply don’t lie; Formula 1 is thriving stateside, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.