Miami gives backing to Formula One Grand Prix

Miami (AFP) –


The prospect of a Formula One Grand Prix staged in Miami moved closer to reality on Thursday after city officials gave their agreement in principle to staging a race in the city.

A motion put before Miami's City Commission was carried with unanimous support, paving the way for negotiations for the race, which could be held as early as 2019, to accelerate.

While a deal for a Miami Grand Prix would still need to get full approval from the full city council and motorsport's governing body, the FIA, support for a new F1 race in the United States has rapidly built momentum.

The US-owned Formula One is keen to stage a race in the Florida metropolis, eager to capitalise on the city's iconic status and strong tourism infrastructure.

Speaking in support of the motion on Thursday, Miami-Dade County commissioner Jose Diaz urged his city counterparts to back the move, emphasising the commercial benefits of the Formula One circus rolling into town.

"I believe this is an incredible financial gain for the city, the county and South Florida," Diaz said. "It's like having a Super Bowl here every year."

The United States already hosts one round of the championship with the US Grand Prix in Austin in October.

The new Miami race would also take place around October, with a 10-year contract likely spanning 2019-2029.

The move to add a Miami leg follows Formula One's takeover by the American group Liberty Media, which has made no secret of its desire to add an additional American race to the season.

Miami-based billionaire Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, one of the backers of the proposed Grand Prix, said the event was a logical choice for the city.

"Miami is a first-class global city and Formula One is a first-class global brand," Ross said last week.

"In cooperation with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, I am confident we can deliver yet another global event that will be a destination for people from around the world and drive economic value to South Florida."