Race Facts – Miami Grand Prix

The Miami Grand Prix at Miami International Autodrome makes its long awaited debut on the Formula 1 calendar in 2022. The inaugural Miami Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on May 6-8.

After years of speculation, Formula 1 will finally race in Miami for the first time in May 2022. The addition of the Miami Grand Prix means that F1 will race twice in the United States in 2022. The United States Grand Prix will also take place at Circuit of The Americas in Texas in October, subject to the signing of a new race contract. It will be the first time two races have been held in America in a single season since 1984, when Grands Prix in Dallas and Detroit were held back-to-back in the early summer.

Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix will take place in Miami Gardens, around 25km north of downtown Miami. The temporary 5.4km Miami International Autodrome will run around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. The 19-turn circuit will be driven at an average speed of 222km/h.

Liberty Media and the bid for a Miami race

Since Liberty Media’s takeover of Formula 1 in 2017, one of the new owners’ priorities has been to secure a second Grand Prix in Americathe USA. Months after the buyout, then F1 chairman Chase Carey name-checked Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas as potential destination cities which he had interest in the sport visiting.

Between 2017 and the announcement that the Miami Grand Prix would join the calendar, some 75 circuit designs were explored for the race, with 36 of those being simulated. One idea, which was quickly deemed unviable, was to have the circuit run through the Port Miami Tunnel.

Plans for the Miami Grand Prix were delayed on numerous occasions by local opposition. Originally, it was hoped that the event would be held in the Biscayne Boulevard area, with the circuit running around the American Airlines Arena. Despite an F1 Fan Festival in the area in October 2018, which attracted 80,000 fans, plans for a race in downtown Miami were eventually shelved in April 2019.

In October 2019, a new location for the race was announced, with an agreement in principle signed for the Miami Grand Prix to take place on a circuit situated in Miami Gardens, near the Hard Rock Stadium. The plans were amended in early 2020 to meet a number of demands, including a new layout which did not incorporate 199th Street to avoid traffic disruption and an agreement that there would be no on-track action before 3pm on the Friday of the Grand Prix weekend to ensure there is no disruption to local schools. A year later, in April 2021, it was confirmed that the Miami Grand Prix would join the Formula 1 calendar in 2022.

Miami’s motorsport origins

While 2022 will mark the first Miami Grand Prix, it is not the first time that the Grand Prix title has been given to a race held in the city. The very first Grand Prix of Miami took place in 1926. It was held on a board track – a banked oval course, the surface of which was made up of wooden planks. Board track racing was popular in the United States in the 1910s and 1920s, but the Fulford–Miami Speedway was used as host of the Grand Prix of Miami only once. The facility was destroyed by a hurricane only seven months after it hosted Miami’s inaugural Grand Prix.

Since then, Miami has hosted plenty of other motorsport events. The Grand Prix of Miami returned as a sports car event in the Bayfront Park area of downtown Miami in 1983, while CART and IndyCar have both raced in the city at Tamiami Park, Museum Park and the Homestead–Miami Speedway.

F1’s only other race in Florida

This will be the first Miami Grand Prix, but not the first time that Formula 1 has raced in the state of Florida. F1’s last visit to the third-most populous state in the USA came in 1959, when Sebring International Raceway hosted the first World Championship United States Grand Prix.

The track, located 250km north west of Hard Rock Stadium, was host tothe scene of Bruce McLaren’s maiden F1 victory. The race was not a success financially, with relatively few ticket sales. The following year, the United States Grand Prix moved to the West Coast, at Riverside International Raceway in California.

Formula 1’s rising popularity in the USA

Formula 1 has enjoyed a surge in popularity in the United States in recent years thanks to more easily accessible television coverage and Netflix’s popular Drive to Survive series. The return of the United States Grand Prix in 2012 at the newly-built Circuit of The Americas has also been a huge success. The United States Grand Prix has already sold out for 2021 and is expected to draw its largest spectator numbers to date.

Though tickets have not yet gone on sale, there is huge interest in the Miami Grand Prix. The event is expected to become a flagship event for Formula 1, attracting big name celebrities akin to the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Miami Grand Prix joins the Formula 1 calendar on a ten-year contract. Managing Partner of the Miami Grand Prix Tom Garfinkel says that he is open to other series such as IndyCar and NASCAR visiting the track in future – though scheduling issues may prevent that from being an option.

Miami Grand Prix: Fast Facts

  • Miami International Autodrome is the eleventh different venue to host a Formula 1 race in the United States. Watkins Glen has hosted the most F1 races of any American circuit. It appeared on the calendar as host of the United States Grand Prix in every season between 1961 and 1980.
  • Miami is the only major city in the United States which was founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle, a businesswoman, owned the land upon which the city was built. There is a statue of her located in Bayfront Park in downtown Miami.
  • With just under half a million inhabitants, Miami is the 44th largest city in the United States.
  • The winner of the inaugural Grand Prix of Miami, held in 1926, was Pete DePaolo. DePaolo had won the Indianapolis 500 one year previously. He went on to sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” as part of the pre-race traditions before the start of the 1971 Indianapolis 500. He is the only former driver to do so.
  • Former Formula 1 driver, and regular Driver Steward, Danny Sullivan was a guest star in an episode of TV show Miami Vice in 1986. Playing a race car driver accused of murder, some outdoor scenes were shot in the pit lane at the Grand Prix of Miami.
  • The Miami Dolphins have won the Super Bowl twice, in 1972 and 1973. In 1972, the team achieved the NFL’s only perfect season, winning all of their games and every play off. They last appeared in the Super Bowl in 1985.
  • The CART series raced on a street circuit in Tamiami Park in the University Park suburb of Miami from 1985-88. The IndyCar series then visited the Homestead–Miami Speedway, located 75km south of the new F1 track, between 1996 and 2010.
  • The Grand Prix of Miami was held as a sports car race between 1983 and 2012. The event was last held as a round of the Rolex Sports Car Series season in 2012. It was a support event for the IndyCar race between 2002 and 2009.
  • Formula E held a one-off race in downtown Miami in March 2015 as part of its inaugural season. It was won by Nico Prost, driving for e.dams Renault. The race was held on the Biscayne Bay Street Circuit, near the American Airlines Arena.

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