F1 Miami Grand Prix: contract until 2038

Further developments have occurred in regard to the proposed Miami Grand Prix 2019. Incredibly a 20 year agreement to host the F1 world championship is on the table meaning that the city of Miami could be hosting a race up until 2038.

Furthermore, it appears that the reason why the proposed Formula 1 calendar for 2019 has yet to surface is due to a critical vote taking place on the 26th July, a the week prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Despite fierce opposition to the idea of a street race in Miami, both the city council and economic development tourism commission unanimously supported a negotiation with Liberty Media on hosting the F1 race.

The city council had already set themselves a deadline of July 1st, obviously this is now 3 weeks overdue, but it appears that the proposed contract has now been finalised with an initial request for 10 years of hosting Formula 1 and an option to extend for another 10 years.

The vote is held on the 26th of July and requires four out of five members to agree with mayor Francis Suarez, the primary supporter of the concept despite not having a vote.

So the state play seems to be that, despite huge support by the city council and the economic development and tourism commission, the residents and business owners of the city are expected to Mount serious resistance to the proposal.

They have been given the opportunity on July 26th to justify their concerns with the City Council.

Perhaps a valid concern for supporters of the race would be the one off Formula E race of Miami in March 2015.

Originally proposed to be a five year deal for Formula E, just the single race occurred and disappeared without any official explanation

Since then, downtown Miami has changed significantly with more condos owned by wealthy citizens who will no doubt apply pressure in an attempt to keep a clean, peaceful and quiet residential area – not conducive to a Formula 1 race.

Case in point being a hip Hop Festival that was cancelled due to pressure from residents at Bayfront Park a little while ago.

Another issue for the supporters of the F1 race in Miami, is the Alliance for a better Florida campaign who actively advertising against F1 with the slogan:

“Say no to F1”

They argue that the race would be at the expense of the taxpayer, claiming “the roads are ours, not for racing”.

The months of construction, the noise and closed roads would mean a huge headache for the community – ”tax money should be used for the benefit of the community not for a race”

Supporters of F1 counter argument is that there has been a Miami Grand Prix since the 1980s, up until the year 2000, albeit as a sports car race and then later in Indy car event. 

Some elements of the proposed street circuit resemble the original Miami street race layout, first employed by IMSA in 1983.

The main difference back then was that the city had higher tolerance of  the requirements and conditions needed to host a Grand Prix. The new condos and developments simply didn’t exist.

Famously (at the time), Lewis Hamilton posted an offer on his social media to improve the design after commenting that it wasn’t very good.

“Miami is a super cool place, and I was very, very excited to hear about it, and then I saw the layout,” Hamilton said.

“I think it could be a lot more fun – you’ve got two of the longest straights, but maybe when we drive it, it will be more fun.

“I don’t want to make an assumption before we’ve even driven it, but if there’s time, and anyone wants to approach me or any of the drivers, I’m sure we could give some good insight into what the layout’s like, and how it could be better.

“I know Miami quite well. There’s a few better locations to put the track, for example. I dread the thought of a street circuit like we had with Valencia”

McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne also expressed reservations about the proposed circuit layout.

Vandoorne said: “I don’t know about the track layout, I’ve seen their proposal, I can’t really visually imagine where it is exactly or how it would look, but just looking at the shape of it it doesn’t look very attractive so far, so maybe there’s something we could change there.”

In light of the issues of the original proposal of circuit, a redesign is believed to be on the cards – revealing a circuit that runs anti-clockwise. The most likely location for the pits being the parking areas on Biscayne Boulevard.

The Bayfront Park opposition will be a concern for Liberty as there’s a lot at stake for them. Liberty Media have yet to make good on their promise to bring more F1 races into the USA and it’s understood that the proposed race in Miami won’t cost the city as much as it should, so every opportunity has been given to make it happen.

It remains to be seen if the vote at the end of the month will keep Liberty Media’s Formula 1 expansion plans on track.

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