A crucial addition to Formula 1’s calendar has been announced: the Miami Grand Prix, the sport announced on Tuesday. It will be the second race in a weekend, starting on Friday. The first race, as Rolling Stone previously reported, is coming to Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi’s controversial purpose-built Grand Prix track.
With a budget in the “tens of millions,” FIA said in a statement, the second race will feature “high-tech, energy-efficient F1 cars that are rapidly becoming more and more sustainable.” The Miami race will also feature a street race that will form part of “a weekend of activities.”
Formula 1 had a rough 2018, marred by rumors of trouble at various races, including a clash between Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg’s Renault. As the Guardian noted, Formula 1 is lagging behind other global sports, not just in America, but also in respect to health, consumerism and other habits.
In October, Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey said in an interview with Bloomberg that commercial obstacles would “overwhelm the sport.” He warned that 2018 could have been a make-or-break year for the sport.
F1 is still suffering from the fallout of its domination in the 1990s and 2000s, when it became a most powerful show in the US market, with high-speed competition between the legendary and enormously wealthy teams like McLaren and Williams. The Spanish Grand Prix disappeared from the list of four American races after the 2009 event, leaving only Indianapolis as the other US-based race. The 2017 race was held in Austin, Texas.
At the end of 2018, with an intense campaign between Formula 1 and its rival Formula E for U.S. TV, and a collective backlash to the sport’s increasingly fast pace and exhaust fumes, pundits felt the federation was fighting a battle of public opinion on its home turf.
Can the Miami race, and the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, reverse the spiral?