Classic F1 circuits should catch up with Miami-style entertainment

The Miami GP has raised the bar in terms of off-track action, and November’s inaugural Las Vegas GP is expected to take things to another level.

Steiner says that in the modern era, fans need to see more than just the Grand Prix itself, especially in the USA, where expectations are higher for those attending major events.

«I think entertainment here got a lot better from the old days,” said Steiner. “In the old days, we went racing, cookie-cutter racing. We do one race, we do the next one, we do nothing around it. We went racing for the motorsport fan.

“The sport, before Liberty Media came in, was not successful in the US. I came to the US and I understood the US more when I moved here because I didn’t understand it before.

“But you need to live here to understand. People want constant entertainment, not just sitting out there waiting three hours until the next time the cars go out. They want something to do, something to consume.

“The other stuff which is going on, you’ve got concerts, entertainment areas. If you’ve got kids with you, you want to entertain them, not sitting on a grandstand, or on a hill.

“Try to tell a 12-year-old that now we have to wait two hours until the cars come along again. That’s pretty difficult.”

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Steiner cited the Singapore GP as a good example of an event that has successfully combined track action with other attractions, such as live music.

However, he stressed that it was important that the grand prix should always remain the main focus of the weekend.

“I think F1 is doing a very good job in that,” he said. “They started to put more entertainment beside it. They do for Singapore, a lot of these races.

“I think what they did very right, the sport is still the centre point of everything. It’s the F1 race, and you’ve got two high-end concerts on Friday night and Saturday night.

“It not like there is the concert, and by the way, on Sunday, the race. It’s the opposite. And I think they do very well. And here [in Miami] they brought it up and up.”

He added: “I think there’s a good chance for what we call the classic race, where we go racing and nothing else, to catch up with this. We have moved into 2023 now, and people want more entertainment, they want more.

“They don’t want just to see a car race. And I think F1 has done a very good job over the last five years to bring this to the consumer, that they enjoy coming here, because there is more than an F1 race, but the centre point is still the F1 race.

“They always keep that in mind because, that is the value of this event, the F1 race, it’s not the concert or the DJ. I mean, they are adding, and they are very important, but they are not the focal point.»

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Steiner, who has close links to NASCAR and attended the recent Cup race at the Circuit of the Americas, believes F1 has learned lessons about making the paddock more accessible for guests.

«I think they’re doing both very similar things,” he noted. “I think NASCAR didn’t put as much entertainment around us we do in the moment, they are a little bit behind from that one. But I think what F1 learned from NASCAR is to give more access to the people as well.

“I mean in the paddock we have got a lot more people than in the old days, it’s a lot more people in here with the possibility coming here for partners, sponsors and things like this, it was much more difficult before.

“And NASCAR does that as well, with the hot pass and all that stuff. So I think that is what they’ve seen being done better.»

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