A Grand Prix around the streets of Miami could move closer to becoming a reality on Thursday as the city’s commission votes on the idea, with many thinking the plans will be agreed.
Miami mayor Francis Suarez, who is sponsoring the race, and three of the five commissioners of the city will have their ideas discussed and voted on Thursday, while a fourth commissioner, Ken Russell, says he would support the project.
Given that only three votes from commissioners are needed to pass the bill, should the resolution be passed, city manager Emilio Gonzalez will be able to begin negotiations with Formula 1 officials about bringing a race to the city from possibly 2019.
“The city of Miami has a very exciting brand that we believe is on a par with F1,” said Russell to Motorsport.com. “We think fans of F1 would like to see a race here.
“Hopefully there’s something we can work out together. We’re optimistic, and Thursday will be the first step towards discussions.”
Russell says the proposed track layout, which has a section that runs around the port in Miami and another that runs over bridge to Dodge Island, looks like an exciting one.
“The port makes for a very exciting track, with the bridge,” added Russell. “You’re connected two pieces of land with a pretty exciting vista. And so it’s a good addition to the race.
“Logistically it also makes it easier to implement with regard to a pretty congested downtown.”
F1 boss Chase Carey would not be drawn into giving contract details about how a race in Miami could get the go-ahead, but he did reveal the race would have its own arrangements.
“Every deal is unique,” said Carey during a Liberty Media press conference. “Realistically, this isn’t a done deal yet, we obviously have some steps to go through. But each deal is unique, and I think we knew going into the US market, which is more like a developed market, you’re going to have unique aspects to it.
“But that would be true with other agreements we have in other places, everyone assumes that these deals are a one-note song, but realistically there are a lot of moving parts around sponsorships and hospitality, and other components that go into it – different economics on a street race versus a track.
“It actually is a structure that gives us a really exciting race, both as a fan proposition, and a business proposition. We believe it’s going to happen and we hope it’s going to happen, and we believe this race could be a real signature race for us on the schedule.”