The 1988 CART champion, who scored his only F1 points in the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix, plans to visit the track imminently, which completed its latest milestone of a ‘topping-out party’ for its Pit and Paddock building last week.
Sullivan spoke to Motorsport.com at a reception in Miami’s Design District that featured the North American debut of ARES S1 supercar and an art exhibition of his former Garvin Brown Racing Formula Atlantic teammate Hubert Phipps.
“I’ve been there twice, when it was pretty basic, but I’m going to drive it next week when it’s ready,” said Sullivan. “What I’m told is they’re made a really good job of the track. On paper it looks a great layout.”
Photo by: Liberty Media
The 3.36-mile, 19-turn track at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens was due to have its third and final layer of asphalt completed over the weekend, putting it well on schedule for the May 8 race date.
Sullivan believes the event will also benefit from being situated near a major stadium complex, without having the downsides of a ‘roval’, had organizers elected to go down that route, such as using the Homestead-Miami Speedway’s road course to the south of the city, or the downtown street venue that was originally envisaged.
“I like what they’ve got there,” said Sullivan of the circuit design that winds around the home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team. “I’ve never liked ‘roval’-style tracks, apart from Daytona, because it’s always a compromise.
“But what you do have, around stadiums, is infrastructure and that helps a lot. Getting people in and out is a big factor, and it’s in a great position near the end of the Turnpike there.
“When you think back to all the politics, I think it’s a great solution because they were never going to get a street race approved downtown. In this day and age, it’s so difficult with the noise and complaining residents – even though it’s in May when it’s pretty quiet in Miami.”
Danny Sullivan, Tyrrell 011, 1983 Monaco Grand Prix
Photo by: Sutton Images
Sullivan also believes the huge uplift of F1 interest of America, which attracted 400,000 to the United States Grand Prix at COTA last year and has led to a sellout of tickets for Miami’s first event, is down to the ‘Netflix effect’ of its Drive To Survive series.
“Give credit where credit is due, the growth in America is all due to Drive to Survive, and Sean Bratches was the brain behind it,” he said. “They [F1] paid for it, Netflix didn’t, and it has influenced America because of how well it’s been done.”