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F1 still wants Miami as ‘signature event’

Formula One is still confident it can bring a race to the streets of Miami in the future, with CEO Chase Carey saying the city’s recent fan festival has helped sway local opinion on the race.

In September, Miami’s City Commission voted to indefinitely defer a resolution to hold a race near Bayfront Park, after an initial plan to host the race in 2019 also fell flat. The deferral has effectively bought F1 more time to work on its plans for the race and come up with a circuit layout that satisfies local pressure groups.

Miami is not the only U.S. city F1 is talking to about a street race, but Carey said he still sees it as a lynchpin of future F1 calendars.

“The U.S. remains a priority,” he said. “We’re engaged with discussions elsewhere in the U.S., so it’s not just Miami, but we think Miami really could be a great signature event for us worldwide — not just in the U.S..”

Carey said the process of bringing a race to Miami has not been straightforward but believes F1’s recent fan festival, which took place in Bayfront Park to coincide this year’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, has helped garner support for the race.

“Miami, clearly there’s an ongoing process, a lot of parties involved, which is not uncommon when you get a street race that you’ve got macro-parties and micro-parties that are interested,” he on an investors’ conference call. “It’s a time-consuming process to navigate through all of those, I guess I’d say it’s active.

“The fan festival was a positive help, I think everybody in Miami thought it was a great experience, great energy, great excitement, 80,000 people and really almost all the comments we got were positive about it and recognised it as a unique world class event and helped reinforce what we bring, that’s a positive step, but it takes time when you’re working through a process like Miami when there’s many constituencies we have to deal with.”

It’s not just Miami that F1 is struggling to negotiate with, the future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is also in doubt beyond 2019. Silverstone has triggered a break clause to make next year’s race the last of its existing contract and is hoping to leverage a cheaper deal to host the British Grand Prix in the future.

But after F1’s commercial boss Sean Bratches issued a warning to the circuit earlier this week, Carey said Silverstone is not the only venue the sport is talking to in Great Britain.

“I think on ongoing negotiations and discussions, we’ve said in the past this is a sport that seems to like to negotiate in public, and I don’t think that’s the healthiest way to deal with things as partners. I don’t think we want to provide a lot of inside the tent commentary on active discussions, we value the Silverstone race but we’ve got to get to a place that works for us.

“And those discussions are ongoing, there’s always other options, and it’s one of those things we make sure is we’re continuing to develop an array of options, we’re in a fortunate place right now that we have more places that want to have races than we can race, and that’s a good place to be, we’ll continue to develop those options, and make sure we are able to make the best decisions both for fans and for racing and for us as a business, all those things matter, and we’re actively engaged.

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