Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal of the BWT Alpine F1 Team is ecstatic heading into this weekend’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix, with Szafnauer believing that Miami is “an excellent place to showcase Formula 1“.
Szafnauer who is Romanian-American, can’t wait for the Miami fans to get a glimpse of Formula 1. This weekend represents the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, becoming the second American race on the calendar. Formula 1 has expanded rapidly in the United States over the last few years, with many believing that the Netflix Formula 1 series ‘Drive to Survive’, has helped increase the American audience.
The Alpine Team Principal remembers watching his first-ever race in America and how it drove him into wanting a motorsport career, he believes that America holds many exciting opportunities for the sport.
“It’s absolutely fantastic that Formula 1 is going to Miami. It’s an excellent place to showcase Formula 1 for the first time, so we’re all looking forward to putting the cars on track there and driving the circuit. Formula 1 has always been popular in America. I remember watching my first race in Detroit in the 1980s, which inspired me to pursue a career in motorsport.
“It’s fantastic that now Formula 1 is expanding in America and inspiring new fans, discovering new cities and introducing a fresh audience to an established global sport. This year we have two races in America, next year it’s three and beyond that, who knows. There are many opportunities and that’s exciting for our sport.”
The Miami Grand Prix will take place at the newly-built Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens. The circuit is surrounded by sporting facilities including NFL team the Miami Dolphins’ stadium. Szafnauer is aware that with this weekend being at a new circuit, it presents a challenge to both the drivers and the engineers.
“Like all teams, we’re heading to a completely new circuit, which we do not have too much information about. We’ve run simulations to help us with a base setup, so hopefully we can be as close to that as possible to allow us some stability early in the weekend. New circuits, especially temporary or street tracks, are usually quite low grip, so we will have to ease ourselves into our programme.
“I’m sure we’ll do the usual running and experiments to optimise our set-up for qualifying and race. It’s an exciting challenge for drivers and engineers alike, so we’ll be doing our best with what we have in our hands.”