Plans to host a Formula 1 grand prix in Miami have received a change in likely circuit venue, following difficulties getting a downtown location approved.
After Formula 1’s project to bring a race to Miami went public, the released circuit layout around Port Miami received opposition from some residents and businesses, leading to organizers delaying its planned debut until at least 2020. NFL Miami Dolphins owner Steven Ross was central to the project, and the most likely location for the circuit is now adjacent to the Hard Rock Stadium in the north of the city, with Tom Garfinkel — vice chairman and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium — admitting a downtown track appears to be too disruptive.
“With over 70 percent of fans expected to come from around the globe and week-long event activation throughout Miami, the economic impact of a Formula 1 race to Miami would be along the same lines of a Super Bowl,” Garfinkel told the Miami Herald.
“We want to do something great for Miami, but unfortunately when we finally received the detailed report of what it would take to build out a street circuit each year, the multiple weeks of traffic and construction disruption to the port, Bayfront Park and the residents and businesses on Biscayne Boulevard would have been significant; which Steve and I felt defeated the purpose.
“A lot would have to happen for us to be able to do it, but we have over 250 acres of land so adding an F1 race to where Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Open sit means we can create a world-class racing circuit that is unencumbered by existing infrastructure.
“It also means better ingress and egress, better amenities, unprecedented sight-lines, and opportunities for the best hospitality anywhere in racing. We can still do parties and events all week downtown, at [South] Beach, and in Brickell.
“We only want to do it if we can create world-class racing, a great fan experience, and a lot of value for Miami.”
RACER understands the Hard Rock Stadium circuit location is now the most likely idea being explored in Miami, but that alternatives remain on the table. A change in venue and the planning required means a 2020 debut is now highly unlikely, with a more realistic target to host the race now being in two years’ time.
Along with Miami, it is also understood that negotiations are ongoing with other cities in the United States, with Las Vegas one such option for a further race alongside Circuit of The Americas in Austin.