Proposed 2021 F1 race for Miami hits a political snag

Valtteri Bottas and the rest of the Formula 1 circus could be headed for Miami in 2021.

The Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix suffered a setback on Tuesday when the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County in Florida voted to create more bureaucratic hurdles for the race.

The mayor, however, can still overrule the objections within the next 10 days

A public hearing is now scheduled for Dec. 10 before the Infrastructure & Capital Improvements Committee to discuss the proposed Formula 1 race weekend currently set for 2021 at the Hard Rock Stadium area in Miami. The Hard Rock Stadium is the home of the Miami Dolphins football team. The Dolphins are owned by Stephen Ross, who also heads the area’s F1 bid.

The vote was 7-6 in favor of an ordinance to revise regulations for the race. However, this can be vetoed by Mayor Carlos Giménez. The mayor attempted to stop the ordinance from being voted on and has been a strong supporter of the F1 race for Miami. Giménez has 10 days to announce his veto, but he can be overruled by a two-thirds vote among the 13 commission members. Nine commissioners would have to vote to overrule any veto.

 

The commission went on to vote for a resolution that sought to establish a countywide policy to prohibit temporary or permanent road closures for motor racing on county roadways that go through or pass by residential districts. Any road closures would have to be agreed upon by the board of commissioners after a number of required studies paid for by the applicants. The race could also be held on private land, but that would not likely happen due to the costs involved in redesigning the track around the stadium’s other facilities. This resolution was approved by an 8-5 vote and can also be vetoed by the mayor.

The red tape is obviously an annoyance because race planners want to begin work so as to be ready for an F1 race in May 2021. If the delays grind on, they could pull the plug on the project, leaving Miami without an F1 race and Formula 1 without a second event in the United States.

Some of the commissioners did point out that other cities were interested in taking on a race if Miami declines to host the race. However, there was a level of naivety among the commissioners who do not seem to comprehend that modern F1 cars are not noisy.

One commissioner even noted that there had never been an F1 race in the county but that there had been a Formula 2 race — while in fact neither F1 nor F2 has ever raced in Miami. The commissioner for the Homestead area — home of the Homestead-Miami Speedway oval that has played host to NASCAR and IndyCar — showed that he has little understanding of how F1 deals are put together by suggesting that the F1 race could happen at Homestead.

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