Formula 1 is launching its 2021 season today at Imola in Italy, but the bigger news to emerge from F1’s opening round is the news that after years – or is it decades? – of speculation, the premier series of global motorsport has a 10-year deal to race on a new street circuit in the city of Miami Gardens that will snake around the perimeter of Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Orange Bowl, the University of Miami Hurricanes and the NFL Miami Dolphins. The Miami Herald reported today that F1 chief Stefano Domenicali issued a statement confirming the agreement earlier today from the track at Imola. The announcement caps a multi-year effort by Dolphins executives Stephen Ross and Tom Garfinkel, who own the Hard Rock facility, to build interest in an international race. According to the Herald, preliminary plans call for a temporary 3.4-mile course with 19 corners to encircle the stadium.
It’s difficult to adequately express just how big an event this is likely to be in Miami, perhaps the United States’ most “international” and diverse metropolitan area outside Los Angeles and New York City. Hard Rock Stadium is already a serious contender in the soccer universe to host the 2026 World Cup, possibly even including the championship match. With apologies to Homestead-Miami Speedway, the metro Dade County region has been looking for an extravaganza like this ever since the late visionary Ralph Sanchez ended the terrific run of the Miami Grand Prix, which dated back to the 1980s, even getting its props in the opening credits of Miami Vice. This will be F1’s second venue in the United States, joining the Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, Texas, and the 11th locale for F1 on these shores since the modern era of the sport began in 1950.