F1 has delayed plans for a Grand Prix in Miami until 2020 at the earliest. Picture: iStock
F1 has delayed plans for a Grand Prix in Miami until 2020 at the earliest. Picture: iStock

F1’s American expansion hits a hurdle

FORMULA 1 has cancelled plans for a first Miami GP in 2019 and instead hopes to introduce the race for the 2020 season.

The announcement means there are likely to be 20 races on the 2019 F1 calendar, with Germany dropping out.

F1 commercial boss Sean Bratches said the postponement came after "complicated negotiations" and that they did not want to sign off on a "sub-optimal race track, just to do a deal".

"Whilst our preference would have been to race in Miami in 2019, there was always a point by which delivering the best possible wheel-to-wheel racing experience for our fans, drivers and teams wouldn't be possible in the time available," he said.

"We have now reached that point as far as racing in Miami in 2019 is concerned.

"However, we are taking a long-term view and as a result, we have decided, in consultation with the Miami authorities, to postpone sign-off until later in the summer, with the aim of running the first Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in the 2020 season."

The initial plans for an inaugural Miami GP, a street race, were voted through in May but hit the rocks in recent weeks, with local residents opposing the event.

A decision was scheduled to be made at a city commission meeting this week, but that was also postponed.

The Miami race was the first "destination city" race in the US confirmed by F1's owners Liberty Media, which still hoped to bring a race to Florida after "significant progress" was made in talks.

The fan festival in Miami in October will still go ahead as planned.

Bratches said: "In the last few months we have worked diligently alongside our promoter Stephen Ross of RSE Ventures, the City of Miami and Miami Dade County, to realise our ambition to bring a Formula 1 Grand Prix to Miami, and we have made significant progress. However, these are complicated 

"We have always said that we wouldn't compromise on delivering the best possible race, for the people of Miami, our fans and the 1.8 billion people who watch F1 globally every year, and if that meant waiting until 2020, then that was far more preferable than signing off on a sub-optimal race track, just to do a deal.

"At every stage of this process we've enjoyed positive collaboration and co-operation with the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Port of Miami, Bayfront Parks Management, residents and businesses. As a result of these discussions, we have listened and adapted our plans, including elements of the track layout.

"We are committed to expansion in the US and to Miami in particular and we will be bringing our fantastic sport to this iconic city in October with the Formula 1 fan festival, where we look forward to engaging and exciting fans."

Story originally appeared on Sky Sports

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