The addition of a Miami Grand Prix to the Formula 1 calendar from 2022 represents an important milestone – and a significant degree of face saving – for commercial rights holder Liberty Media. The US corporation has finally clinched a deal with a host city it targeted as a priority following its succession from the Bernie Ecclestone era in 2017, only to lose the Florida location after an initial project hit resistance from politicians and residents.
Now, instead of a track based in the city’s bay area, a 19-corner, 3.36-mile layout has been created around the Hard Rock Stadium, home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. A date has yet to be confirmed, but the race is likely to run in spring rather than as a double-header with the autumn US GP in Austin, Texas.
The Miami street circuit will be the 11th venue to host an F1 round since 1950 and marks a throwback to the ’70s and ’80s, when the US regularly hosted two grands prix a year.
Since the 1980s, F1’s courtship with the US has blown hot and cold. Street GPs in Las Vegas, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix all failed to gain traction and F1 found itself homeless in the US between the Phoenix race in 1991 and the first Indianapolis GP in 2000. A round at the ‘home of US motor sport’ appeared to be an American dream in the new millennium, but the race that incorporated the Brickyard’s oval with a special infield road course fell away after 2007 in the wake of the tyre debacle race two years earlier, when fans booed as six cars lined up on the grid.
Figures such as McLaren’s racing boss Zak Brown have called for an F1 return to Indy now the speedway is owned and operated by Roger Penske. But the Miami deal, which will run over 10 years, makes that less likely. Still, uncertainty over the long-term future of the Austin race, which has proven a commercial challenge, could still potentially bring Indy back into play later in the decade.