Miami’s Mayor Francis Suarez says hosting a Formula 1 race on his city’s streets would be like hosting the Super Bowl “every year for the next 10 years”.
The first step in the approval process, which was unanimously agreed in a Miami city commission meeting on Thursday, paves the way for in-depth negotiations with F1. The targeted outcome is a hosting a grand prix in the Biscayne Bay and Port area next year.
Miami will host the 2020 NFL Super Bowl, so the inaugural Miami GP, planned for next year's October, would occur four months before America’s biggest sporting event takes place at the Hard Rock Stadium in nearby Miami Gardens.
“This is huge – this is authorization from the city commission supporting my agenda item to begin negotiations with Formula 1 formally,” Mayor Suarez told Motorsport.com. “It’s an indication that there is political support behind the having the most-viewed racing in the world coming to Miami.
“We would be the 22nd race [on the F1 calendar], the second race in the United States, probably the only city in the world that has F1 and all five major [U.S.] sports. So, for us, it’s a big deal.
“It's a reemphasis of us as a global city and it's going be something that's great as an economic driver, an economic impact for the city. And obviously it's going put us on the map in this premier racing venue.
“The next step is that the [city] manager will come back with, hopefully, a vetted and negotiated 10-year deal, to have it here for 10 consecutive years. We would have, essentially, a Super Bowl – in terms of economic impact and global visibility – every year for the next 10 years.”
The 2020 Super Bowl will be played at the home of the Miami Dolphins, which is owned by Stephen M. Ross, the real estate magnate who was linked with buying Formula 1 before Liberty Media finalized its takeover deal.
Mayor Suarez confirmed that Ross – whose net worth is about $7 billion – is a key player behind the Miami GP bid, which gives huge credence to making the event happen.
“We've seen preliminary drawings of the course, but obviously a big part of putting on a Formula 1 race is the infrastructure that’s needed to support it,” added Suarez.
“That's why we are so excited that Steve Ross, who is the owner of the Miami Dolphins, and who brought the Miami Open [tennis tournament] to Dolphins Stadium, has become a part of it.
“That means it has a very, very strong financial backing.”