But Maffei quickly downplayed the chances of adding a fourth American event alongside Austin, Miami and Las Vegas, saying that trying to put on a race in the Big Apple was a “fight we don’t need to have.”
Former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone tried for years to get a race either in or close to New York. In 2011 a site at Port Imperial in New Jersey, with the city skyline as a backdrop, was earmarked by promoter Leo Hindery.
The race was included on the 2013 F1 calendar and work had started on readying the venue before the project collapsed due to lack of funding.
Since taking over the F1 business in 2017, Liberty has prioritized adding races in “destination” US venues. While the company was always interested in New York, and even took another look at New Jersey, the Miami and Las Vegas projects reached fruition first.
Speaking at a financial event in New York on Thursday, Maffei was asked by the moderator if a Grand Prix in the city was on the cards.
Maffei revealed that Mayor Adams, who was sworn in on January 1, has proposed a site on Randalls and Wards Island, an area of largely parkland and sports fields across the Harlem River to the north-east of Manhattan. However, he made it clear that the site wasn’t seen by Liberty as suitable.
“The Eric Adams administration has reached out asking for one,” said Maffei “I think that’s very difficult. Their proposal, Randalls Island, is probably not our perfect venue.
“You know, a lot of time and money was spent here 15-20 years ago [sic]including by Leo Hindery, one of my predecessors, trying to build one out over in Hoboken.
“I think the reality is street races in a place like New York are just very, very, very hard. Las Vegas is one of the few places in the United States you could probably get a street race done, it has a different mentality.
“New York is a wonderful venue, but it’s hard to see that they’re going to shut Central Park for us!”
Red Bull Racing RB7 in New York
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
When the moderator said he would like to see a New York race, Maffei replied: “I suspect there are a few other groups which might not, so probably a fight we don’t need to have.”
Meanwhile Maffei insisted that the inaugural Miami GP had been a great success, while conceding that there were issues that the organization has to address for 2023.
“I think overall a great success, demand was crazy,” he said. “The number of people who have said to me that it was sporting event they ever went to, all this.
“Were there logistics issues around a first time race? [For example] drivers don’t love everything about the track, which is not unusual, or the Paddock Club hospitality and security. We’ll see. There are things to be worked through.
“I think the [Miami] Dolphins, our partners there, did a great job overall. I think they’re very aware of the problems or issues that arose, but are very fixable.
“But the TV experience, the excitement, the overall tone in Miami was wildly positive. I mean, crazy good. And I don’t think that’s going away. So I think you work through the first year issues, and it’s going to be a great, great, great event.”
Regarding Miami promoter Tom Garfinkel’s admission that the first race generated a loss Maffei said: “I think it’ll be very profitable for the Dolphins. I mean, their P&L [profit and loss] and our P&L are a little different.
“But they have a 10-year deal. I think they’ll make a lot of money.”