Formula 1: Miami city commission approves plan for 2019 grand prix

Plans for a Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in 2019 have taken a step forward after a motion to support the race was unanimously approved by the city’s commission.

A resolution in support of the race, sponsored by Miami mayor Francis Suarez and widely expected to pass, was considered in a public hearing on Thursday.

After earlier hearing some concerns from members of the public, as well as some speaking in support of the event, the five commissioners unanimously voted to proceed.

“F1 is a worldwide sport with approximately 1.8billion TV viewers annually,” said Mayor Suarez during the hearing.

“I believe it will help in the transition of the city of Miami from a gateway city to a global city.

“It has a potential economic boost of over $2.8billion, [a figure recorded] between the years of 2012 and 2015 in downtown Austin, which is the only other city in the United States that has an F1 race.

“We would be probably the only city in the world that has F1 and all five major [U.S.] sports.

“This is a first step, and hopefully at some point there will be an agreement come before this commission that has been vetted by the community and be voted on.”

The resolution allows city manager Emilio Gonzalez to take the next step in negotiations with F1.

Only one amendment was made to the proposal, to allow the trust of the Bayfront Park commercial centre to effectively have a seat at the negotiating table with F1.

It was also confirmed that the Port of Miami, when queried about potential restrictions over access, was supportive of the race.

The next step is for a Host City Contract to be drawn up, ready for further analysis by the City Commission, before July 1st.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz, who sponsored the bid along with Mayor Suarez, added: “It is something for our community that would be incredible; this is the pinnacle, to add all of the sports together so we can be the world leader in all of sports.

“I believe this can be an incredible financial gain for the city and South of Florida – way beyond the levels of what we’ve seen before, like basically having the Super Bowl every year.”

Formula 1 commercial director Sean Bratches said his organisation would get to work “immediately” on bringing plans for the October 2019 race to fruition.

“With the unanimous votes at both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County’s Economic Development and Tourism Committee, we are very pleased to have received preliminary approval towards bringing a Formula 1 Grand Prix to Miami,” Bratches said in an official statement.

“We recognise that this is only the start of the process and we will immediately get to work with the various community stakeholders, the City of Miami, the Port of Miami, Bayfront Park Management Trust and others, in order to reach a final agreement.

“Formula 1 in Miami represents a fantastic opportunity to bring the greatest racing spectacle on the planet to one of the world’s most iconic cities, and we are delighted that the journey is underway.”

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