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Hard Rock Stadium F1 circuit plans reworked

Formula 1 and NFL American football franchise the Miami Dolphins have revealed changes to the design of the circuit looking to bring the motor-racing championship to Hard Rock Stadium, ahead of a key meeting on the project later today (Wednesday).

Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, which combines F1, the Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium, said the series of changes to the proposed track configuration and race schedule incorporates feedback received during months of dialogue with residents, elected officials, faith leaders, local businesses, and scientific experts.

Notably, the new track configuration eliminates the use of Northwest 199th Street for a portion of the racetrack, and the race schedule will be altered so there is no racing prior to 3pm local time on Friday of race weekend in order to ensure that there isn’t any disruption to schools in the area.

Hard Rock Stadium has been lined up to host a second US race on the Formula One calendar after an agreement in principle was reached to take the motor-racing series to Miami, from May 2021, back in October. The project has since been met with multiple challenges, with several meetings having taken place over a period of months, many of which were convened by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a backer of the plans.

Hard Rock Stadium and Formula 1 officials said these meetings provided “substantial scientific evidence” proving that there are no credible health threats to local residents caused by the racing. However, a primary concern voiced by residents related to the use of a stretch of Northwest 199th Street for a portion of the racetrack and the disruption it would cause to local traffic.

After hearing the concerns, Hard Rock Stadium and F1 directed a team of track design engineers to reconfigure the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix track to eliminate the use of Northwest 199th Street for racing. A map of the new track (pictured) was released by F1 yesterday. The stakeholders said the new configuration provides a world-class racing circuit focused on Stadium grounds, eliminating the use of Northwest 199th street for a portion of the racetrack.

Tom Garfinkel, Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium vice-chairman and CEO, said: “The Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix is another example of a world-class event coming to our region.  Like the Super Bowl, an event like this provides a unique opportunity to proudly showcase our region to the world.

“We want these events to benefit everyone in the region, including local Miami Gardens residents, and we look forward to working with Superintendent Carvalho, Dr. Steve Gallon, and the District to bring innovative STEM programming to local students, such as ‘Formula 1 in Schools,’ a global engineering competition.”

Tuesday’s announcement came ahead of today’s Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners meeting, where the Commission will vote on a measure, put forth by Commissioner Barbara Jordan, which attempts to revoke Hard Rock Stadium’s current zoning rights in an effort to prevent F1 racing.  The Stadium’s current zoning designation permits auto racing and was previously granted by both the City of Miami Gardens and Miami Dade County.

F1 has been engaged in long-running efforts to bring the sport to the Florida city, and add a second US race to the calendar, with the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas having hosted the United States Grand Prix since 2012.

In April, it was reported that Hard Rock Stadium had been put forward as the new potential home of a Formula 1 race in Miami, with the championship and stakeholders behind the project deciding to drop long-held plans to develop a street circuit in the downtown area of the city.

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 stymied plans to add Miami to the 2019 calendar, with Miami also failing to make the 2020 season’s schedule.

Hard Rock Stadium has received renovations worth around $700m (£536.6m/€631.8m) in recent years in an effort to transform it into a multi-sport venue. The stadium, which will stage Super Bowl LIV on February 2, hosted leading tennis tournament the Miami Open for the first time from March 18-31 last year as part of a long-term deal that has relocated the event from the Crandon Park facility in Key Biscayne.

Image: Formula 1