Sports - June 12, 2018

Miami approves plans for 2019 F1 Grand Prix

Though not everyone in Miami is on board with the idea of loud race cars shutting down important roads for an entire weekend, the prospect of a 2019 Grand Prix in Miami has moved a step closer after the City of Miami Commission unanimously voted in favor of the proposal.

Miami will now enter into negotiations with Formula 1 over a 10-year deal to hold the race from 2019.

The exact timing of a Miami Grand Prix is a matter for further discussion between F1, the FIA, and the Miami authorities, but if approved at the next stage with Miami-Dade County officials, the inaugural race should take place by the end of 2019.

Francis Suarez, Miami’s mayor, sponsored the resolution supporting the race. He is enthusiastic about the exposure which a Grand Prix will generate for the city. Also, the economic growth caused by it.

The commission set a July 1 deadline for the formalized agreement between the Miami city manager and F1, and that agreement then has to go back to the commission for approval.

Images of the proposed circuit were revealed last week by city commissioner Ken Russell, with the race to be run around the city’s port, crossing the Port Boulevard bridge and passing the American Airlines Arena, home of NBA’s Miami Heat.

Liberty Media, who took control of F1 in late 2016, have often spoken of their desire to add US “destination cities” to the calendar.

Las Vegas, New York, and Los Angeles were other potential targets for F1 races, but a Miami event would be their first official addition to the calendar since Liberty Media bought out Bernie Ecclestone in 2017.

There is no calendar for 2019 yet, but the plans are for a race in October 2018. However, it is not clear if other existing races will fall off the calendar next year, but the contracts for HockenheimSpa-Francorchamps, and Suzuka are all set to expire at the end of 2018.

According to ESPN, there is a rumor about a race in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, although 2020 now seems more likely than 2019, and F1 sponsor Heineken held a demonstration run with Red Bull Racing in Ho Chi Minh City last weekend.

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