LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One is hoping to hold a race through the streets of downtown Miami next year.
Sean Bratches, the sport’s managing director for commercial operations, said in a statement on Wednesday that he hoped Miami city authorities would back the plan.
“Earlier today the City of Miami Commission took an important step by adding an item to their upcoming agenda, that if approved, will make way to bring Formula One to downtown Miami next season,” he said.
“We appreciate the community’s interest in hosting a Formula One race and look forward to working with local officials and stakeholders to bring this vision to life.”
Formula One said that, if plans were approved, it hoped the inaugural race would be scheduled on the calendar for October, 2019.
The Miami Herald website (www.miamiherald.com) reported a 10-year deal was under consideration, with the Commission due to meet on May 10 to authorize city manager Emilio Gonzalez to negotiate a contract by July 1.
A fan festival is already scheduled for Miami this year, in the same week as the Oct. 21 U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
Texas currently hosts the only U.S. race on the calendar but commercial rights holders Liberty Media, who took over the sport in January last year, want to grow Formula One in what they see as a key market.
Miami has long been talked about as a possible venue, along with Las Vegas and Los Angeles, although there could be some local opposition to street closures and noise.
A group calling itself the Better Florida Alliance (www.betterfloridaalliance.org) has already organized a petition headlined “Say no to Formula One closing Miami streets”.
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.
“Miami is a first-class global city and Formula One is a first-class global brand,” said U.S. entrepreneur and Miami Dolphins NFL franchise owner Stephen Ross, who is supporting the Miami project.
“In cooperation with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, I am confident we can deliver yet another global event that will be a destination for people from around the world and drive economic value to South Florida.”
The Miami Herald said a new company owned by Ross would be the potential promoter of the race.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge