In a sign of the exploding popularity of Formula One racing in the United States, the FIA Formula One World Championship series has inked a ten-year deal to host a race in Miami starting in 2022. The deal was brokered in part by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who’s Hard Rock Stadium will form the heart of the 3.36 mile circuit that will feature 20 cars hitting top speeds around 200 miles per hour. Miami Dolphins Vice President Tom Garfinkle has been named Managing Partner of the Miami Grand Prix.
City and county officials approved the deal last week, after years of negotiations with Formula One. Officials sought a number of restrictions for the event, including assurances that no portion of the race’s events will begin after sunset. Formula One races typically begin on Friday, with two practice sessions, plus a third practice session and a qualifying event on Saturday, leading up to the race itself on Sunday afternoon. However, setting up the track is expected to close some streets around Hard Rock Stadium for several weeks while officials ensure the track meets rigid safety standards for both drivers and fans.
The exact date of the race has yet to be determined, but will occur sometime before the sport’s traditional summer break, which occurs in August. That’s because Formula One officials don’t want to interfere with the annually scheduled Formula One race at the Austin, Texas Circuit of the Americas.
“We will keep them separate, in order to give the right space for both,” said Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali Sunday. “This is really crucial.”
Unlike Austin’s race, though, the Miami Grand Prix will be a street circuit, featuring a significantly tighter track with less margin for error, making for spectacular racing action visible from virtually every part of the track.
In the current Formula One season, there is only one American-owned team, Haas Formula One Team, and no American drivers. But over the past three years, American interest in the sport in the sport has grown significantly, thanks in large part to the Netflix series, Drive to Survive, now currently filming its fourth season.
The documentary follows real F1 drivers, engineers, team principles and owners as they live out their lives as part of the worldwide Formula One World Championship. The episodic show is packed with tension and drama, taking viewers behind the scenes, jet-setting from corporate board rooms to lavish parties and promotional events in exotic locales, then behind the steering wheels of actual F1 cars racing each other at speeds over 200 miles per hour.
Miami racing fans, including Ross, have long sought a closer partnership with Formula One. The city has hosted an all-electric version of the race in previous years, called Formula E, but those cars, while fast, cannot sustain the speed and performance of the hybrid cars used in Formula One, which are the fastest regulated road course race cars in the world. The cars are engineered for very high cornering speeds achieved through the application of downforce generated by rear spoilers and front wings attached to the cars.