Miami delays decision over Formula One race contract

Officials in Miami have postponed key talks on a contract to stage a Formula One race in the US city amid concerns from local residents.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez confirmed the decision to the Miami Herald newspaper, with talks originally scheduled for July 26 now delayed until after the City Commission’s August break in order to secure further input from downtown residents.

City Manager Emilio Gonzalez said discussions with officials from the motor racing championship will continue, adding he believed the delay will not affect plans to stage a race from next year. “We want to make sure we do this right,” he said. “It’s a big event.”

The grand prix proposal received the unanimous support of the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee in May. The announcement was made following a public hearing in the US city, with stakeholders seeking to add a second race in the United States in October 2019.

Negotiations reportedly concern a 10-year deal which would contain an option for a further decade-long extension. The original plan for the race ran from Biscayne Boulevard in front of American Airlines Arena over to PortMiami and back. The Herald said a revised plan now sees a circuit wrap around Bayfront Park, including a road adjacent to the water, running up Biscayne Boulevard and looping around PortMiami.

The newspaper added that the city, through legislation sponsored by Commissioner Joe Carollo, is asking the Florida Legislature to make funding available for the event.

“The Formula One Miami Grand Prix race will bring thousands of race fans to South Florida, which, for international tourists, can easily become part of a much larger visit to the rest of Florida and its great attractions,” the resolution states. “The Formula One Miami Grand Prix can only help to enhance the international destination status of the State of Florida as a whole through participation in this global event.”

The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas has hosted the United States Grand Prix since 2012, but F1 has long aspired to add a second US race, with Miami touted as a leading contender.