Renewed Miami GP F1 bid faces crucial city council vote

Hopes for the Miami Grand Prix joining the Formula 1 calendar in 2022 have been boosted by the Mayor of Miami Gardens, Rodney Harris, sponsoring a fresh bid to host the event.

Renewed Miami GP F1 bid faces crucial city council vote

If successful, it would lead to a memorandum of understanding between the city, the Miami Dophins organisation and F1 to hold the race on a purpose-built circuit around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Dolphins NFL team.

Miami Gardens is a city 16 miles north of Miami, and its council will vote next Wednesday on the new resolution, which is being put forward by the Mayor with the backing of real estate billionaire Stephen Ross, who signed a deal in 2019 with F1 to promote the race.

Ross’s previous efforts have been derailed by opposition from local residents, who in October launched a civil rights lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, the Miami Dolphins organisation (which Ross owns) and Formula 1 for racial discrimination – Miami Gardens, home to 113,000 residents, is a majority African-American city.

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It also marks a U-turn from Harris, who voted against the initial event bid at the Hard Rock Stadium when he was a city councilman in 2019.

In the proposed memorandum of understanding it actively promotes Miami Gardens as “as the first majority African-American city to host a Formula 1 race of the 23 cities around the world that host a Formula 1 Grand Prix”. It also pledges $5million to fund community benefits programs and businesses in the city, and a STEM program for local children that F1 will implement.

Miami Grand Prix Track Layout

Miami Grand Prix Track Layout

Photo by: Miami GP

The track layout has already been altered to appease locals, as it was re-designed (above) to avoid using 199th Street, meaning the arterial route can be kept open throughout the race weekend. The Dolphins organisation has also pledged to erect noise mitigation barriers and monitor air quality and noise throughout the event.

The Miami Gardens activists’ group, led by former Miami-Dade commissioner Betty Ferguson, say they will continue to fight against the race from going ahead.

"It goes against everything the community stood for," Ferguson told The Miami Herald. “I don't know who [the council] think they are representing if they support this resolution but it won't be the homeowners.”

Initial plans in 2017 to host the event on the streets of the City of Miami were thwarted by a local residents group, which quashed the downtown bid in early 2019 on the grounds of noise pollution and the disruption it would cause. 

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Author Charles Bradley
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