Miami residents don't want F1 race

Miami Gardens residents and local politicians have made clear their opposition to a potential Formula 1 grand prix being held at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Liberty Media has doggedly pursued a street race in the Florida city since taking control of the sport and has already seen one proposed route in downtown Miami rejected by locals.

Focus has now switched to the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Both the stadium and NFL franchise are owned by Stephen Ross, who is the chief promoter for a potential Miami GP.

A race-specific website, set up by F1, has tried to build support from locals by offering three templates to be sent to local officials stating support for the race.

However, that attracted negative attention, with inflammatory messages pre-loaded into the letters, including: “It would be shameful and embarrassing for Miami do anything except welcome F1 with open arms.”

The templates have been changed, but remain strongly worded. One aimed at Miami-Dade residents, whose neighbourhood was previously earmarked for the downtown race, now reads: “When you consider your vote to allow Formula 1 at Hard Rock Stadium, please keep in mind what is best for our community as a whole, as opposed to the concerns of a few!”

More and more Miami politicians have spoken out against the plans, and at a council meeting on Wednesday, the opposition from residents was also made clear.

The Brandenton Herald reports that an attendee shouted, “We don’t want it!” when the potential economic benefits of hosting a race were being outlined.

Chief among residents’ concerns have been the closure of streets long before and after the race and air and noise pollution that the race cars and influx of 20 Formula 1 teams can bring.

Although the race is proposed to be held on mostly privately owned land, local officials can still make it more difficult to host by refusing to authorise necessary road closures and rejecting a permit to host the race.