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Miami GP boss open to improving circuit after Lewis Hamilton ‘B&Q car park’ jibe

Drivers have been critical of the Miami Grand Prix circuit (Lynne Sladky/AP)
Drivers have been critical of the Miami Grand Prix circuit (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Miami Grand Prix chief Tom Garfinkel anticipates changes will be made to Formula One’s newest circuit after Lewis Hamilton compared it to a B&Q car park.

Seven-time world champion Hamilton criticised the tight left-right chicane at Turns 14 and 15 of the purpose-built temporary layout which runs round the Hard Rock Stadium – home of NFL’s Miami Dolphins – and called for it to be removed.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez also described the track surface – which incorporates private access roads – as a “joke”, and it is feared overtaking will be difficult in Sunday’s race because there is not enough grip off the racing line.

“We are evaluating some of the drivers’ comments to make sure we can improve, and we are open to changing whatever we need to do to make the track better,” said Garfinkel.

“I don’t know if we communicated well enough why the chicane exists. It was a necessary evil to slow the drivers down because we don’t have enough run-off space.

“But from talking to F1 and the FIA, there is an opportunity to change that and make it better.

“We are also evaluating the surface, and we want to make that right, and make changes if needed.

“If the drivers cannot go off the racing line, there is not going to be overtaking and that is not good because I want to have as much overtaking as possible.”

The first F1 race in Miami has courted criticism for for its eye-watering prices, with the cheapest tickets for Sunday’s grand prix starting at around £400.

But Garfinkel, chief executive of the Miami Dolphins, said the event will operate at a loss in the first of a 10-season deal.

“If you asked me six months ago, I would have expected to make money based on where the revenues were heading, but we are not going to make money this year,” he added.

“The expenses far exceeded our expectations but that is because we wanted to do everything first-class. We want to do things right.”

The Miami Grand Prix is the first of two F1 races in the United States this season – the other taking place in Austin on October 23 – with Las Vegas joining the calendar next year.

Garfinkel added: “Vegas joining is fantastic because all ships rise with the rising tide.

“From my point of view, it is additive having Vegas there. It creates an opportunity to grow the sport in the United States.

“I have never been able to watch a race with someone on TV and make them a fan, but when you bring them to the track it is hard not to fall in love with it.”