Miami scraps downtown F1 plan in favour of stadium-based event

Plans to run the proposed Miami Grand Prix around Biscayne Boulevard and Bayfront Park in the city’s downtown area appear to have been scrapped in favour of a new venue adjacent to the Miami Dolphins stadium, according to the group led by the NFL team’s owner.

Miami scraps downtown F1 plan in favour of stadium-based event

In May 2017, Formula 1 owners Liberty joined forces with billionaire local businessman Stephen Ross in a joint effort to hold a Miami GP in 2019, but the planned 10-year deal has been repeatedly delayed.

Miami hosted a Fan Festival last year on Biscayne Boulevard, featuring F1 show runs on the streets that have previously hosted IndyCar, IMSA and Formula E races. However, plans for a full-blown Formula 1 event to run on the streets and the adjacent Port Miami area stalled in City Hall due to opposition from local residents and businesses, and the likelihood of multiple law suits over the disruption the event would cause.

Most recently, a vote on the proposed downtown event was deferred in City Hall again last month, and this appears to have been the final straw for the plan.

Now, Ross and his team has switched focus to bring F1 to a site near the Hard Rock Stadium venue in Miami Gardens, a 65,000-seat venue to the north of the city that will play host to the 2020 Super Bowl. It hopes to create a “world-class racing circuit” in the land surrounding the stadium, and recently hosted the Miami Open tennis tournament for the first time.

Former Chip Ganassi Racing executive Tom Garfinkel, now vice chairman and CEO of Miami Dolphins and the stadium, told the Miami Herald that the disruption caused by a downtown event would negate the benefits to the city.

“We want to do something great for Miami,” said Garfinkel. “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 only want to do it if we can create world-class racing, a great fan experience, and a lot of value for Miami.”

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Series Formula 1
Author Charles Bradley
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