The inaugural race, which is penned in for October of next year, passed its first hurdle when the City Commission approved the 10-year proposal on Thursday. A further vote will be put to the Miami County later this month.
F1 is set to face opposition from local groups, with large parts of the city likely to be affected, but the sport’s American owner Liberty Media is confident of getting an agreement over the line.
Sean Bratches, F1’s commercial boss, was in Miami on Thursday to run through the proposal which, if fully approved, will be the biggest coup of Liberty’s reign so far. Bratches said Miami “represents a fantastic opportunity to bring the greatest racing spectacle on the planet to one of the world’s most iconic cities.”
The proposed 2.6mile track includes the port, runs along Biscayne Boulevard and loops around the American Airlines Arena, home of NBA side Miami Heat.
Hamilton gave the track the thumbs down last week, however, writing on Instagram: “OK, so I’ve just seen the design of the Miami track. Nah bruh, it’s not the one. Let me design it.”
Adding to his social media remarks, Hamilton said: “Miami is a super-cool place and I was very excited to hear about it, but when I saw the layout I was like ‘meh’. It could be a lot more fun.
“I know Miami quite well so there are a few better locations to put the track.”
Hamilton, who was speaking ahead of this week’s Spanish Grand Prix, added: “All the great golfers design golf courses, but no top racing drivers have ever designed a track.
“Maybe it is a hit but if there is time and anyone wants to approach me or any of the drivers, I am sure we can give some good insight, and how the layout can be better.”
A spokesperson for F1 told Press Association Sport that the track could yet be adapted.
F1’s owners have made no secret of their desire to stage more races in America, with New York and Las Vegas also under consideration. A deal to race in Miami would also be the first struck in the post-Bernie Ecclestone era.
Hamilton heads into the opening leg of the European season here in Barcelona with a four-point championship lead over Sebastian Vettel after he won fortuitously in Azerbaijan last time out.
The 33-year-old Englishman, who spent last weekend at the Met Gala in New York, is yet to sign an extension to his Mercedes contract which expires at the end of the season.
Hamilton and Mercedes had hoped to get his new deal over the line before March’s opening rubber in Melbourne, but appear no closer to an announcement.
“When it’s signed, it’s signed,” Hamilton said. “Formula One is shifting and we don’t know what the sport is doing.
“All the teams come to the end of an agreement in 2020 so there is that, and my future to determine. I have got to decide how long I want to do it, how long I plan to be here, and that is why I am taking my time.”
Lewis Hamilton was subdued in his celebrations while his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas was left devastated after the defending world champion claimed an unlikely victory in Sunday’s incident-packed Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Their conflicting emotions summed up the range of moods following an extraordinary contest that saw two Safety Car interventions, championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari outwitted and beaten and the Red Bull drivers crash into each other.
Bottas had looked likely to win until he was hit by a puncture after running over debris in the final laps and gifted victory to his team-mate.
It was Hamilton’s first win this year and 63rd of his career and lifted him beyond Vettel back to the top of the title standings.
Hamilton had struggled to keep pace with Vettel and Bottas for much of the race and said it felt “a bit odd” to end up victorious after both men hit trouble in the closing laps.
Race win = GONE 😫
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 29, 2018
Chasing Bottas after the final re-start, Vettel made a lunge to pass him at the first corner, but succeeded only in out-braking himself and locking up as he speared off circuit before rejoining to finish fourth.
Bottas then retired with the end in sight when he suffered a dramatic puncture after running over debris left on the main straight.
“It was really quite an emotional race to be honest,” said Hamilton. “Valtteri did such an exceptional job and really deserved to have the win and Sebastian also did a great job.
“It feels a little bit odd to be up here, but I’ve got to take it. I didn’t give up, I kept pushing, but it was an untidy race for me.”
Hamilton’s first win in seven races stretching back to last October took him to 70 points in the championship ahead of Vettel on 66 and Kimi Raikkonen on 48. Bottas has 40.
Bottas, in dark glasses, said: “It was just unfortunate. Unlucky. Ten pints of beer and maybe I will be fine… I will get through it. You always have to get through it – it is a part of racing, but at the moment it is painful.
“Street circuits are difficult. There are always going to be crashes. I didn’t know I had run over anything, or seen anything. Just unlucky.”
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda blamed the poor work in clearing the track after the multiple accidents for Bottas’s misfortune.
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 29, 2018
“It was good and bad today,” he said. “Why didn’t they clean up the circuit properly? There was so much time to do it… It was a disaster for Bottas and for Lewis it was really good.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was philosophical.
“The win was really his, for Valtteri, but he pulled away at the re-start and ran over a huge chunk of debris. I just feel for him. There was even a tiny chance to win this race on normal strategy, but it cannot change the reality for us that we are a bit behind Ferrari at the moment.
“I guess, in the end, Lewis has got his Melbourne win back.”
In the season-opening race in Melbourne, Hamilton led until Ferrari took advantage of a Safety Car deployment to help Vettel take victory.
Provided by AFP Sport
The 33-year-old Briton praised the loyalty and values of the exit-bound Arsenal manager and swept aside doubts about his own future despite not yet signing a new contract. His current deal ends this year.
“I have always had great admiration for Arsene,” Gunners supporter Hamilton told reporters.
“For anyone to have commitment to a team and the loyalty which he has shown through all the ups and downs, through outside individuals saying positives and negatives, but to stay true to your values and continue to strive for what you believe in I think has really been awesome.
“Whilst the team has not always been the most successful, I really hope that he feels great about his time. I’ve had the privilege of meeting him a couple of times. He asked me to go and train with the team, which I have not managed to do yet, but he was always really welcoming and it was cool to meet ‘our team’s’ boss.
“I’ve supported Arsenal since I was five. I want to wish him all the best. I think his future is as bright as he wants it to be, so I hope he takes the positivity out of all the great experiences he’s had.”
Hamilton insisted it is only a matter of time before he re-commits to Mercedes.
“I’m fully committed to Mercedes,” he said. “I have every plan to be with the team for the future so it is really about getting on with it. We were planning to do it after the last race, but we had a lot on.
“I was not really around to meet. I had one day at the factory and then I was in China and then I was in the States. We will do it in the near future for sure, but it’s not a rush thing.”
It may be no more than a coincidence, but speculation over Hamilton’s future – due to the delays in him signing and announcing his new long-term commitment to the team – has been accompanied by a dip in form for the four-time world champion.
He has not won any of the three season-opening races, but current championship leader and fellow-four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari on Thursday dismissed suggestions that Hamilton’s form could help him take a fifth title.
“We’ve not had that many races so far, but I think he’s been as usual. He’s doing a very good job. Obviously, Australia was his weekend, but it ended up a bit different.
“Bahrain was ours and China, I’m not sure whose it was. I’m not looking at one guy that close or closer than others. I guess he’s doing a good job otherwise he wouldn’t be as successful as he’s been these last years.
“I hope to be number one challenger to whoever, but it’s a long year and at the moment it’s looking good, but it doesn’t mean anything, because it matters in the last three races, not the first three races.”