Despite significant progress in negotiations, Formula 1 announced that a 2019 Miami race date wouldn’t offer the best possible racing product and the series will now work toward a 2020 event.
The decision was made just days before a contract and funding for the proposed Miami Grand Prix was to be discussed during Thursday’s meeting of the Miami City Commission. The commission was set to consider a resolution urging Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature to make public funding available; it had previously been suggested that the grand prix could be privately funded and promoted in part by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
“In the last few months we have worked diligently alongside our promoter Stephen Ross of RSE Ventures, the City of Miami and Miami Dade County, to realize our ambition to bring a Formula 1 Grand Prix to Miami, and we have made significant progress: however, these are complicated negotiations,” Sean Bratches, F1 managing director of commercial operations, said in a statement.
“Whilst our preference would have been to race in Miami in 2019, there was always a point by which delivering the best possible wheel-to-wheel racing experience for our fans, drivers and teams wouldn’t be possible in the time available. We have now reached that point as far as racing in Miami in 2019 is concerned.
“However, we are taking a long-term view and as a result, we have decided, in consultation with the Miami authorities, to postpone sign-off until later in the summer, with the aim of running the first Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in the 2020 season.
“We have always said that we wouldn’t compromise on delivering the best possible race, for the people of Miami, our fans and the 1.8 billion people who watch F1 globally every year, and if that meant waiting until 2020, then that was far more preferable than signing off on a sub-optimal racetrack, just to do a deal.
“At every stage of this process we’ve enjoyed positive collaboration and co-operation with the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Port of Miami, Bayfront Parks Management, residents and businesses. As a result of these discussions, we have listened and adapted our plans, including elements of the track layout.
“We are committed to expansion in the U.S. and to Miami in particular and we will be bringing our fantastic sport to this iconic city in October with the Formula 1 fan festival, where we look forward to engaging and exciting fans.”
An F1 Fan Fest is planned in Miami in October at Bayfront Park in order to build momentum for the inaugural race.
–Chris Medland contributed to this report.