Miami Prepares for Formula 1

The United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, has been the only Grand Prix held in America for years, despite attempts to add more cities. Starting in 2022, Miami joins the schedule.

The Miami Grand Prix, the first of a 10-year contract, will have the cars race around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, where the Miami Dolphins play, just north of downtown Miami. The race will be on May 8, about five months before the Austin event in October.

Drivers are enthused by what Miami — and the United States — can offer.

“It’s such a huge country; having just one race here isn’t enough to really be able to tap into the sporting culture and really encapsulate the fans,” said Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. “To get them on the journey with us I think definitely we need to have at least two. Miami is going to be incredible.”

Fernando Alonso of Alpine recently visited Miami to open a branch of his apparel company.

“There was a lot of interest from the local journalists and the people,” he said. “They are really willing to host the race and make that weekend very special for the whole community. I felt a very strong vibe there.”

Adding Miami realizes Formula 1’s ambition to establish two American events, especially with the new American fans it is attracting because of the Netflix Formula 1 series “Drive to Survive.” The last time there were two races in the United States was in 1984, with events in Dallas and Detroit.

Formula 1’s previous attempt at a second race came in 2013. A street course was designed around Port Imperial in Weehawken, N.J., but the project fell through.

Tom Garfinkel is the chief executive of the Hard Rock Stadium and managing partner of the Miami Grand Prix.Credit…Dan Istitene/Formula, via Getty Images

“We had a vision to create a global entertainment destination,” said Tom Garfinkel, chief executive of the stadium and managing partner of the Grand Prix, at the race’s announcement. “The site exists to bring in the biggest events in the world: Super Bowl, international soccer, Miami Open, and there’s no bigger event in the world than Formula 1 racing.”

He said holding the race at the stadium gave organizers a “blank sheet of paper” in comparison to potential constraints downtown.

A 5.4-kilometer, or 3.4-mile, 19-turn circuit, named Miami International Autodrome, is being built around the stadium. It is set to have a street-style feel, similar to Sochi Autodrom in Russia.

“We want to create an environment where people are blown away when they get there,” Garfinkel said. “You can walk around the top deck of the stadium and see every turn of the racetrack.”

With about six months until the opening race, there is already much anticipation.

“There’s an excitement level of about 20 here in Miami Gardens,” said Mayor Rodney Harris. “We can put our small city of Miami Gardens on the map. We’re hoping that this Grand Prix becomes the best one throughout the whole circuit.”

The United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas last week.Credit…Robyn Beck/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Programs are planned to help the community, its businesses and raise awareness of STEM subjects among local students.

“Formula 1 will work with our business owners, they’re going to work with our kids,” Harris said.

“We have a lot of kids here who are car fans, and for them to have the opportunity to witness a Formula 1 race and see the engineering expertise that comes with putting together a race like this, will be really exciting.”

He said the race “is going to generate millions of dollars, not only for our economy in Miami Gardens, but for the whole South Florida region.”

Formula 1 could also add a third race in the United States. Steve Sisolak, the governor of Nevada, said this month that he had been in talks with the sport about holding a Grand Prix in Las Vegas. Formula 1 would not comment on those talks.

There is certainly demand in the country, with organizers in Austin saying that almost 400,000 fans attended its Grand Prix weekend this month, up about 50 percent from the event’s last Grand Prix.

That is a turnaround from a decade ago, when Formula 1 lacked even a single event on American soil.

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