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Miami nice: Formula 1 in Florida?

Written by: Neil

In a week when Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul criticised the bloated 21-race Formula One calendar, it seems a new venue could be about to be added to the programme. 

Attempts to establish a US Grand Prix as a regular fixture on the calendar have been somewhat fraught down the years, but Austin hosted the race last year and will do so again in October.

However, future F1 races in the US could be heading away from Texas and over to the sunshine state, as city bosses in Miami are trying to bring the event to Florida. 

Normally, venues only get a five year deal, but talk is rife that in this case there could be an unprecedented 20-year contract on the table. Forbes stated that the proposed agreement describes it as: "Formula One Grand Prix racing from October 2019 through October 2029 with an option for a further ten (10) year extension".

In theory, all this could have been killed off by the fact that the authorities in the city failed to negotiate a deal with F1 bosses by their own self-imposed deadline of July 1st. However, it now seems the talks went on behind the scenes, with the crucial meeting now scheduled for July 26th. 

There is certainly the organisational and financial apparatus in place to deliver a race, with  South Florida Racing LLC ready to get on with it. They are believed to be owned by Stephen Ross, the billionaire backer of the Miami Dolphins NFL team. 

All that needs to happen is the minor detail of actually creating a venue. The finances may be there, but locals in the Bayfront Park and Biscayne areas are ready to take legal action against the track, which is proposed to pass through their neighbourhoods. Getting the lawyers involved may be as natural as breathing in the US, but the residents could kybosh the whole thing if they succeed in getting a cease and desist order.

It has to be said, though, that Miami is a much more attractive place than Austin. If you have to spend 20 years anywhere, there are far worse places to go.

Stephen Hasley, brand manager at Petrol News, comments: "A Grand Prix in Miami is certainly a glamorous prospect. But eyebrows will definitely be raised at the thought that the city might get preferential treatment over the duration of the contract."

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