Hard Rock Stadium has been put forward as the new potential home of a Formula One race in Miami, with the motor-racing championship and stakeholders behind the project reportedly deciding to drop long-held plans to develop a street circuit in the downtown area of the US city.
The Miami Herald newspaper said that Formula One and Stephen Ross have mutually agreed to end the street circuit vision after deciding that disruption to local businesses and residents would be too great.
Ross, owner of NFL American football team the Miami Dolphins and its Hard Rock Stadium home, is one of the backers of the Miami F1 effort. In May 2018, the downtown street circuit proposal received the unanimous support of the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee.
However, bureaucratic red-tape has already stymied plans to add Miami to the current 2019 calendar, with recent reports indicating that 2020 was also looking an ambitious timescale. Hard Rock Stadium has received renovations worth around $700m (£543.6m/€628.6m) in recent years in an effort to transform it into a multi-sport venue.
The stadium hosted leading tennis tournament the Miami Open for the first time from March 18-31 as part of a long-term deal that has relocated the event from the Crandon Park facility in Key Biscayne.
“With over 70% of fans expected to come from around the globe and week-long event activation throughout Miami, the economic impact of a Formula One race to Miami would be along the same lines of a Super Bowl,” Tom Garfinkel, vice-chairman and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, told the Herald.
“We want to do something great for Miami, 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 (Ross) and I felt defeated the purpose.”
The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas has hosted the United States Grand Prix since 2012 and F1 has long been attempting to add a second US race to the calendar.
Garfinkel added: “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 can still do parties and events all week downtown, at (South) Beach, and in Brickell. We only want to do it if we can create world-class racing, a great fan experience, and a lot of value for Miami.”
Image: Miami Open