Plans for an F1 race in Miami in 2019 took a step forward on Thursday with a motion being unanimously approved by the city's commission.
A resolution in support of the race, sponsored by Miami mayor Francis Suarez, was considered in a public hearing. After earlier hearing some concerns from members of the public, as well as some speaking in support of the event, the five commissioners unanimously voted to proceed.
“F1 is a worldwide sport with approximately 1.8 billion TV viewers annually,” said Mayor Suarez during the hearing. “I believe it will help in the transition of the City of Miami from a gateway city to a global city.
“It has a potential economic boost of over $2.8 billion, [a figure recorded] between the years of 2012 and 2015 in downtown Austin, which is the only other city in the United States that has an F1 race. We would be probably the only city in the world that has F1 and all five major [U.S.] sports.
“This is a first step, and hopefully at some point there will be an agreement come before this commission that has been vetted by the community and be voted on.”
Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz, who endorsed the bid along with the Mayor, added: “It is something for our community that would be incredible; this is the pinnacle, to add all of the sports together so we can be the world leader in all of sports.
“I believe this can be an incredible financial gain for the city and South of Florida. Way beyond the levels of what we’ve seen before – like basically having the Super Bowl every year.”
The resolution allows city manager Emilio Gonzalez to take the next step in negotiations with F1. Only one amendment was made to the proposal, to allow the trust of the Bayfront Park commercial centre to effectively have a seat at the negotiating table with F1.
It was also confirmed that the Port of Miami – when queried about potential restrictions over access – was supportive of the race event.
The next step is for a Host City Contract to be drawn up, ready for further analysis by the City Commission, before July 1st.