While the word ‘veto’ usually sends shivers down the spines of F1 bosses, a move by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez offers the sport a lifeline as it seeks to host a race in the Florida city.
Mayor Gimenez has issued a rare veto in a bid to give the various sides in the dispute over the proposed raced around the Hard Rock Stadium more time to find a compromise.
Last week’s meeting of the board of county commissioners at Miami-Dade’s City Hall saw hopes of a Miami race suffer yet another blow as two resolutions were passed, the first prohibiting road closures near residential neighbourhoods in Miami Gardens, which would mean the proposed track layout would need to be changed, while the second called for a public hearing before any F1 race in Miami Gardens got formal approval.
Previously, Gimenez, a known supporter of the event, had recused himself from decisions relating to the race because one of his sons is a paid lobbyist for the event.
However, announcing his veto today, Mayor Gimenez said that following meetings with Barbara Jordan, the county commissioner representing Miami Gardens, and Miami Dolphins representatives he was hopeful of a compromise.
Telling the Miami Herald that it is “premature to attempt to block an event of the magnitude of Formula One outright”, he added that he remains “committed to respecting the residents of Miami Gardens, and to finding a way to bring this world-class event to our community”.
The resolution calling for commission approval of the road closures passed eight to five last week, with nine votes required from the thirteen-seat board to override the mayoral veto.
This means those opposing the race need to convert one of those board members currently in favour of the event.
“We are doing everything possible to protect the residents of Miami Gardens,” said Sam Dubbin, an attorney representing the Miami Gardens residents, who argues that without last week’s resolution the event would have been held without full commission approval.