Formula 1’s plans to have a race in Miami next year moved a step closer to reality following approval from the Miami City Commission to finalize a deal to host another round in the United States.
During a meeting of the Miami City Commission on Thursday – attended by Formula 1’s managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches – it was unanimously decided that the city will enter negotiations with the organizers of F1 to bring the sport to Florida in 2019.
The street race is set to take place downtown around Biscayne Boulevard and Port Miami, with both the city and F1 mutually agreeing to host the first event in October 2019. Today’s approval calls for the City of Miami to push ahead with finalizing what is set to be a ten-year contract through to 2028, with the agreement to host the race specified to be signed by July 1.
Bratches was keen to stress there is still work to do to finalize a deal, but said that he is encouraged by the support F1 has received so far.
“With the unanimous votes at both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee, we are very pleased to have received preliminary approval towards bringing a Formula 1 Grand Prix to Miami,” Bratches said. “We recognize that this is only the start of the process and we will immediately get to work with the various community stakeholders, the City of Miami, the Port of Miami, Bayfront Park Management Trust and others, in order to reach a final agreement.
“Formula 1 in Miami represents a fantastic opportunity to bring the greatest racing spectacle on the planet to one of the world’s most iconic cities, and we are delighted that the journey is underway.”
While supportive of the proposal, Lewis Hamilton said before approval from the City Commission that he wants to give his input into the track layout.
“I don’t really get it, for example in golf you get all the great golfers designing golf courses, we’ve not got any of the top racing drivers in history, they’ve never designed a race track,” Hamilton said.
“Not that we are designers or anything, but our input. Miami is a super-cool place, and then I saw the layout and it was like, nah. But it could be fun. You’ve got two of the longest straights, but maybe when we drive it it could be fun.
“I dread the thought of a street circuit like we had with Valencia, that wasn’t a great street circuit. It can be a hit or miss, but maybe it’s a hit. I don’t want to get an assumption before we’ve even driven it. But I’m sure as drivers we can give an insight into it, and I know Miami quite well. There’s a few better locations to put the track, for example.”