NASCAR & Auto Racing

Formula One race in downtown Miami scrapped; alternative Miami-Dade location explored

Formula One still might come to Miami-Dade.

Just not downtown Miami.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Formula One, the international open-wheel racing circuit, have mutually decided to scrap a year-long effort to bring an F-1 race to downtown Miami. They determined that the disruption to businesses and residents downtown would be too great.

But that does not mean the dream of F-1 in South Florida is dead.

Rather, the sides are working on a new idea: put the race adjacent to Hard Rock Stadium, which thanks to some $700 million in privately funded renovations, has become a global sports and entertainment destination. Organizers say the move would alleviate the public road and park construction disruption each year and potentially create more reasonable economics for both F-1 and race promoters.

“With over 70 percent of fans expected to come from around the globe and week-long event activation throughout Miami, the economic impact of a Formula One race to Miami would be along the same lines of a Super Bowl,” said Tom Garfinkel, vice chairman and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium.

“We want to do something great for Miami, but unfortunately when we finally received the detailed report of what it would take to build out a street circuit each year, the multiple weeks of traffic and construction disruption to the port, Bayfront Park and the residents and businesses on Biscayne Boulevard would have been significant; which Steve and I felt defeated the purpose.”

Details of when and how this race will go down are still being flushed out, but landing F-1 would solidify the Hard Rock Stadium property as the only international venue with football, concerts, soccer, tennis and motorsports.

For years, Hard Rock has hosted top international soccer matches, most notably El Clasico in 2017.

But it has also attracted mega concerts like U2 and Jay Z/Beyonce, music festivals like Rolling Loud and, most recently, world-class tennis with the Miami Open. That’s in addition to Orange Bowls, University of Miami football, Dolphins NFL football games and the team’s soon-to-be built training facility, plus the 2020 Super Bowl and the 2021 college football national championship game.

Ross has personally invested nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to transform the property.

And adding a Formula One race each year, organizers say, would bring even more people from around the world to Miami.

Yes, the race will not run through the streets of downtown Miami, but Garfinkel said the new location being investigated has its advantages, if it can be achieved.

“A lot would have to happen for us to be able to do it, but we have over 250 acres of land so adding an F-1 race to where Hard Rock Stadium and the Miami Open sit means we can create a world-class racing circuit that is unencumbered by existing infrastructure,” he added. “It also means better ingress and egress, better amenities, unprecedented sight-lines, and opportunities for the best hospitality anywhere in racing. We can still do parties and events all week downtown, at [South] Beach, and in Brickell.”

He added: “We only want to do it if we can create world-class racing, a great fan experience, and a lot of value for Miami.”