Miami Grand Prix pushed back to 2020: sources

HOCKENHEIM, Germany (Reuters) – Formula One has given up on the possibility of having a grand prix in Miami next year and the focus is now on 2020, sources close to the matter told Reuters on Sunday.

The Florida city last week delayed a decision on hosting a race until September due to emerging local opposition.

A discussion on a race contract had originally been scheduled for next Thursday.

“The likely scenario now is that the race will take place in 2020,” one source said.

Others confirmed 2019 was no longer considered an option and official confirmation was expected soon.

Formula One’s commercial rights holders Liberty Media are keen to expand in the United States, whose only race at present is at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

That U.S. Grand Prix circuit is the only purpose-built permanent F1 track in the country and Miami would be a street circuit taking in the harborside and downtown.

The Miami Herald newspaper reported last week that many downtown and Port Miami residents had expressed concerns about the proposal and potential road closures, noise and traffic problems.

Formula One has long sought a second race in the United States but previous attempts have ended in failure.

Liberty want to make sure Miami, which has been offered a 10-year contract, has long-term viability with the maximum local support.

That meant not rushing through the proposal just for the sake of putting a flag on the map.

“It needs to be done properly, past mistakes cannot be repeated,” a source said at the German Grand Prix.

A proposed 2013 New Jersey race was unveiled in 2011 but then pushed back to 2014 because organizers needed more time to prepare.

It was included on the provisional 2014 calendar but the plan was ultimately abandoned for financial reasons.

A draft 2019 calendar has yet to be published by Formula One but Miami, penciled in for October, would have been the big new draw.

Another source said the absence of Miami could lead to renewed efforts to strike a deal for a German Grand Prix, which is out of contract at Hockenheim after Sunday’s race.

A fan festival is already scheduled for Miami this year, in the same week as the Oct. 21 race in Austin, and that will still go ahead.

The south Florida city has never before hosted a Formula One championship grand prix, although it has hosted a round of the all-electric Formula E series.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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