Formula 1’s plan to host a race in Miami moved a step closer with an agreement in principle for a grand prix around Hard Rock Stadium starting in May 2021.
The sport has been keen to expand its reach in the United States by adding a second race in the country, with Miami emerging as a serious candidate as it targets destination cities. The original plans to host the race downtown faced too much opposition and were scrapped, leading to a revised proposal around Hard Rock Stadium that has now been finalized.
“We are thrilled to announce that Formula One and Hard Rock Stadium have reached an agreement in principle to host the first-ever Formula One Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium,” read a joint statement from Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel and outgoing F1 managing director of commercial operations Sean Bratches.
“With an estimated annual impact of more than $400 million and 35,000 room nights, the Formula One Miami Grand Prix will be an economic juggernaut for South Florida each and every year.
“We are deeply grateful to our fans, elected officials and the local tourism industry for their patience and support throughout this process. We look forward to bringing the greatest racing spectacle on the planet for the first time to one of the world’s most iconic and glamorous regions.”
The proposal still needs approval from Miami-Dade County commissioners, with the Miami Herald reporting that both Commissioner Barbara Jordan and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert have come out publicly against the event, while there has also been opposition from Miami Gardens residents fearing disruption in the area.
In switching focus from a downtown venue to Hard Rock Stadium and its surrounding grounds – all owned by businessman Stephen Ross – Bratches believes it would have a much lesser impact on local residents.
“Hosting the race at the stadium site limits the work that has to be done to public streets, which means very little disruption to surrounding residents and businesses as we prepare for the race,” Bratches is quoted as saying by the Miami Herald.
The proposed inaugural race date is in May 2021, though at present F1’s first North American round takes place in Montreal in June, two weeks after the Monaco Grand Prix that is traditionally held at the end of May. Next year will see a record 22-race calendar, with the sport working on a revised race weekend schedule that will allow teams to arrive a day later at each venue but maintain three days of track action.