BY JOEY FLECHAS
May 02, 2018 10:07 AM
Updated May 02, 2018 08:15 PM
Miami is considering a 10-year deal with international auto racing giant Formula One to host a Grand Prix on the streets of downtown.
If the City Commission gives its blessing next week, Miami City Manager Emilio Gonzalez would have until July 1 to negotiate a contract to bring the world’s preeminent auto racing league to downtown for a huge event, with organizers hoping to hold the inaugural three-day event in October 2019.
While discussions are preliminary and a final contract would still need commission approval in the coming months, next week’s vote signals the city’s openness to hosting what would be the largest race downtown has ever seen. It would be the first downtown street race since the Miami ePrix, an electric automobile race that ran once in 2015. A decade earlier, an IndyCar-style race cut through Museum Park (then-known as Bicentennial Park) one year, and since 1983 other types of auto-racing roared down Biscayne Boulevard.
But boosters might hit one speed bump that didn’t exist before: Neighbors. Downtown is now more densely populated with tower dwellers who will have something to say about another huge event creating noise and congestion, bringing thousands to the urban core.
For now, commissioners will consider whether they want to start bargaining at all. A vote to authorize negotiations is set for May 10.
“Formula One racing has global appeal, and so does the city of Miami,” said city spokesman Eugene Ramirez, adding that any agreement would need final approve from the commission later this summer.
Formula One has not been shy about its desire to expand in the United States, with Miami on its radar since last year. While Formula One was scouting Miami and discussing potential racing circuits with the city last year, the PortMiami Tunnel was at one point proposed as part of the route — an idea that was quickly ruled out.
Ken Russell, the district commissioner for downtown, said neighbors’ concerns would be allayed if organizers could stage a race with minimal street closures and as little noise as possible.
“If we get this right, this could be very positive for the city,” he said.
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Photo Credit: Luca Bruno AP – Luca Bruno AP