The Miami Grand Prix takes place for the first time on 8 May 2022 after a lengthy saga for Formula 1 owners Liberty Media and billionaire local businessman Stephen Ross to run a world championship event at the Hard Rock Stadium.
Previous plans for a downtown Miami street race, promoted by Miami Dolphins NFL team owner Ross, were voted down in City Hall in 2019 following opposition from local residents and businesses. But the new track in Miami Gardens – built around Ross’s football stadium in a city located to the north of Miami – will now host the event for the next 10 years.
When is the Formula 1 Miami GP?
The Miami GP takes place on 6-8 May and is the fifth round of the Formula 1 world championship.
It is also the first of the season in North America, with the Canadian Grand Prix set for 17-19 June, the United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas taking place on 21-23 October and the Mexico City Grand Prix on 28-30 October. Next year they will be joined by the Las Vegas Grand Prix in November.
The Miami GP race weekend starts on Friday 6 May, with F1 free practice beginning at 14:30 local time, with another hour-long session at 17:30. Saturday 7 May is F1 qualifying day, taking place at 16:00 after the final free practice at 13:00.
The first-ever race at Miami International Autodrome will be a W Series event at 14:25 on Saturday, with a Porsche Sprint Challenge event following F1 qualifying.
Sunday 8 May is F1 race day, with the support races kicking off the action in the morning before the grand prix itself starts at 15:30.
Miami track overview
Photo by: Charles Bradley
Has Formula 1 ever raced in Miami before?
Formula 1 has never raced in Miami before, but plenty of other forms of motorsport have taken place there and the ‘Grand Prix of Miami’ has been held on many occasions. The city used to play host to a street race event between 1983-2003 for IMSA, IndyCar and Trans-Am cars.
Racing returned to Miami’s streets when Formula E ran a one-off event on a downtown track in 2015, using the Miami Heat stadium’s infrastructure. The layout looped around the arena, before heading north on Biscayne Boulevard and turning left to loop around to NE 2nd Ave underneath the elevated MacArthur Causeway and then back past Museum Park.
Ahead of the planned F1 downtown race for 2019, an official ‘F1 Festival’ event was held on Biscayne Boulevard in October 2018 – with two-time world champion Emerson Fittipaldi starring in a McLaren M23 along with demonstration F1 cars from Red Bull and Renault.
The downtown Miami Grand Prix, first announced in May 2017, was canned in April 2019 due to local resident opposition that turned local government against the project (as they feared they might lose their seats on the commission), while planned construction work in the Port Miami zone was also given as a reason.
This project was subsequently resubmitted as a semi-permanent race track at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, which again faced opposition from residents but was finally approved for May 2022 shortly after a change of Mayor in that city.
George Russell, Miami GP track
Photo by: Miami GP
Why is F1 racing in Miami?
Miami’s long-time Mayor, Francis Suarez, is keen that his city is viewed as a “global gateway” for America and that its melting pot of cultures and arts give a wide appeal to incoming visitors. Given its tropical climate, Miami has become renowned as a holiday destination.
It has also attracted a lot of wealth and many celebrities have homes in and around the city, which is littered with many multi-million dollar mansions and villas, making it a glamorous location. Its urban economy is the 12th largest in the United States, with a gross metropolitan product of $377.5 billion and is home to 440,000 people.
Miami Beach, which is a separate city that lies east of Miami, has been the setting for many feature movies, including the opening credits and scenes of the James Bond film Goldfinger – which were shot at the famous Fontainebleau hotel. Oscar winner Moonlight was set in Miami, as was Scarface, The Bodyguard, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and the Bad Boys franchise.
Although it is located near the southern tip of the East Coast of America, Miami’s Eastern Time Zone means it is in line with much of the country’s main population and only three hours ahead of the West Coast’s Pacific Time. Its addition to the US Grand Prix in Austin, along with the upcoming Las Vegas event arriving in 2023 in Nevada, this means little threat of dilution for the huge American sports market. That has been turbocharged in recent years by the Netflix F1 series Drive to Survive.
Although the race won’t be held in the more spectacular downtown location as originally envisaged, Miami’s skyline is clearly visible from the track in Miami Gardens, which is situated 16 miles north of the city centre. The 65,000-seater Hard Rock Stadium hosted the 2020 Super Bowl and also is the site for the Miami Open tennis championships and multiple music festivals.
Miami track overview
Photo by: Charles Bradley
What will the Miami Grand Prix track look like?
The Miami International Autodrome is a 3.36-mile anti-clockwise road course built around the home of the Miami Dolphins NFL and University of Miami (aka: Hurricanes) College Football teams.
It features 19 turns – seven right-handers, 12 left-handers – with three straights, the longest of which is just under a mile. Predicted lap times are in the 1m35s bracket, with an average F1 lap speed calculated at 134mph in simulations.
Designed by UK firm Apex Circuit Design, the track is semi-permanent, featuring 2,864 concrete blocks and 2,976 debris fence panels which will be set up for the race each year and then dismantled to allow for parking at the stadium for its other events.
The track itself is made up of 85,000 yards of asphalt that was laid in three strips – weighing 24,000 tons in total. It is 50-feet wide in most places, but narrows to 32-feet at Turn 16, which is where the track winds under two overpasses to the nearby Turnpike road that links Miami to Orlando.
The backstraight will produce speeds just under 200mph, with maximum braking loads of 5.5g and laterals of 5.1g expected around the course.
The pit building, which is permanent, features 36 garages and a double-decker Paddock Club hospitality on top. Another significant feature is a gondola cable car system, which crosses over the track near Turn 9.
The track’s design had to be revamped from an initial layout following local residents raising concerns about the disruption caused by closing the 199th St throughfare.
Miami track drone overview
Photo by: Miami GP
What was the original downtown street track design?
The original design for the Miami Grand Prix track was in downtown Miami, running along Biscayne Boulevard on some of the streets used in previous races in this area. What was significantly different was a loop to the Port of Miami, which is located on the artificial Dodge Island. The track would’ve included two long, curved bridge sections that would have given stunning views as the cars drove overhead Biscayne Bay – with the background of cruise ships in one direction and Miami’s skyscrapers and luxury hotels in the other.
A second version of the layout dispensed with the lap around the basketball arena and instead looped around Bayfront Park, which would have required new purpose-built sections of track.
Opposition from well-organised residents’ groups ended the hopes of the downtown project, along with plans for construction work in the port also causing issues.
Where else in the US has Formula 1 raced?
Formula 1 has had a rollercoaster relationship with America. Right from the opening year of the world championship in 1950, the Indianapolis 500 was a points-paying round – despite F1 drivers rarely taking part.
Sebring in Florida and Riverside in California were the first tracks to host events under the United States Grand Prix banner in 1959 and 1960 respectively, before it found a home at Watkins Glen in upstate New York from 1961-1980.
As well as the US GP, Long Beach in California also held the United States Grand Prix West from 1976-1983.
The Caesars Palace GP ran in 1981 and 1982, while Detroit held a race between 1982 and 1988 and Dallas held a one-off street race in 1984.
The US GP name returned for three years on the streets of Phoenix from 1989-91, before another break was ended by eight years at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course from 2000-07.
After some disastrous events, including the infamous six-car race of 2005, another gap was ended when Austin’s Circuit of The Americas signed a long-term deal with F1, beginning from 2012 to the present day.
In 2023, Las Vegas will join the list with a street race that includes a section on the famous ‘Strip’ entertainment zone.
Las Vegas track action
Photo by: Liberty Media