The Formula 1 circuit is looking to bolster the appeal of the athletic Grand Prix events by adding what will be just the third non-European Grand Prix since 2000. The F1 will add the first Grand Prix to South Florida on Sunday, July 28, 2022 at the prestigious North Miami Speedway.
The Miami Grand Prix will be the first non-European Grand Prix in more than 20 years, although there was a German Grand Prix that only had to be held one time in 1990. Despite the occasional American Grand Prix, such as a New York Grand Prix in 1977, it was not until 1997 that the United States graced the F1 calendar. When U.S. Grand Prix started in 2000, U.S. teams like Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, Michael Andretti, Jeff Gordon, Willy T. Ribbs, Jacky Ickx, Mark Spitz, Emerson Fittipaldi, Joe Gibbs, Larry Moon, Freddie Spencer, Marco Andretti, Brian Butterworth, Alfonso Andretti, Mario Andretti, Terry Francona, Michael Andretti, Oriol Servia, Nelson Piquet, Herbert Cruzers, and Alex Zanardi would bring the most to the sport.
Miami’s Grand Prix will be the second race to be held in South Florida. The first, held in 2015, was canceled by the Miami Beach Board of Commissioners after construction at the venue was found to be unsound. The race will be held at the same North Miami Speedway.
“We are extremely proud to partner with F1 and put on the second Miami Grand Prix,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “Once again, we’ll feature one of the fastest, most exhilarating, and most exciting races in the world on North Miami Speedway’s venerable 12-turn layout, and provide a breathtaking visual spectacle that F1 fans worldwide will know and love.”
Several West Coast athletes are familiar with F1, including preeminent golfers Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson and tennis champion Andre Agassi. Agassi won the Russian Grand Prix in 1996, the first American to claim a Grand Prix win.
“The resurgence of the Grand Prix brand – and the culmination of years of planning by local and state government officials and organized sponsors and other industry leaders – is a strong affirmation of the Miami region’s recent emergence as one of the most dynamic global centers for world-class sporting events,” North Miami Speedway President Jonathan Klein said. “F1’s decision to partner with us – not the obvious candidates in South Florida – is a vote of confidence that extends beyond our region. These events are being held around the world, around the world.”
Miami-Dade Commissioner Ken Russell said the city intends to continue its plan for race promotion and will work with the Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the Miami Police Department, and Miami Beach Police Department to ensure safety and security measures are present and are executed efficiently.
“Our city and county continue to continue our incredible efforts to leverage our assets, especially our location in the center of South Florida, to make Miami the best and most memorable location in the world for sports fans,” Russell said. “These opportunities do not come without challenges and there will always be unforeseen contingencies. However, we have assembled the best planning team in Miami to adequately prepare for our guests, families, and families to enjoy their holidays and annual Florida traditions over the Fourth of July weekend in 2022.”
IMS purchased North Miami Speedway and its $100 million construction project from the Hendrick Motorsports in the summer of 2016. The project to convert the 55-year-old track into a state-of-the-art soccer stadium for the soccer team Real Madrid was halted in the fall of 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2020. IMS hopes to bring F1 to Miami in the future, but first, IMS President Jeff George has plans to complete a signature design to overhaul the Speedway for this race.
Richard Cohen covered sports for over 30 years for FOXSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @richardcohenfox.