Formula One

Formula One seeks to hold street race in Miami starting in 2019

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Formula One announced Wednesday it wants to stage a street race in Miami starting in 2019 and the city commission has scheduled a vote next week on a proposal to formalize plans for a 10-year deal.

The series has long sought to enlarge its presence in the United States. A Miami race would be the second in the U.S., joining the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. It would be the fourth in North America, joining races in Canada and Mexico City.

Formula One officials said if approved, the Miami race could be targeted for October 2019, which would place it close to the current calendar spot of the Texas and Mexico City races.

“Miami’s status as one of the world’s most iconic and glamorous cities, combined with its robust tourism infrastructure, makes Miami the perfect destination for Formula 1 and its fans,” said Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director for commercial operations.

The Miami race would be the latest move by Liberty Media, the American ownership group that took over F1 in 2017. Liberty is pushing for ways to expand F1’s reach, including the possibility of adding new races in Asia, and a soon-to-launch live streaming service.

The Texas race gets about $25 million annually in state and local tax money to pay F1’s rights fees and other expenses. The Florida race is supported by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, but financing details were not immediately available.

“From football and soccer to tennis and motorsports, Miami deserves only the best in music, food, art, fashion, and sports and entertainment, and that is exactly what we plan on delivering with a Formula 1 race,” Ross said.

Formula One races in cities across the globe but had left the U.S. from 2008-2012. It returned with the U.S. Grand Prix in Texas at the Circuit of the Americas, a $300 million facility built specifically for F1. A Miami street race would be the first F1 street race in the U.S. since 1991 in Phoenix.

The series has been interested in a second U.S. race for years with talk of races in New Jersey, Los Angeles or Miami. But more races in the U.S. could pull fans away from the Texas race, which already competes for fans with the Mexico City race, which joined the calendar in 2015 and is run a week after the U.S. Grand Prix.

Bobby Epstein, president of the Circuit of the Americas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment but has said in the past adding more races in the U.S. will help the sport grow.

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry. Time just published a brief piece by Wallace saluting Hamilton as a trailblazer.

The idea of Hamilton attending the NASCAR season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).