Miami Grand Prix track layout changed to avoid public roads

The proposed Miami circuit will loop around the Hard Rock Stadium. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Organisers of the Miami Grand Prix have made changes to their proposed circuit layout in order to appease opponents of the race.

The circuit is located around the home of the Miami Dolphins, the Hard Rock Stadium, and has been tweaked so that it no longer uses public roads -- a feature that had previously raised concerns about traffic congestion. Organisers and F1 have also promised the usual Friday track action will be timed so as not to disrupt local schools.

The changes came after a series of meetings in recent months with residents, local officials, faith leaders, local businesses and scientific experts, in which Formula One claims it proved there will be no "no credible health threats to local residents caused by the racing".

However, there were still concerns about the use of 199th Street south of the stadium as well as the disruption the event could create for local schools. The organisers of the race responded with the reconfigured layout and a commitment to have no track action before 3pm on the Friday afternoon of the grand prix weekend.

"The Formula One Miami Grand Prix is another example of a world-class event coming to our region," Miami Dolphins Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel said in a statement on F1's website. "Like the Super Bowl, an event like this provides a unique opportunity to proudly showcase our region to the world.

"We want these events to benefit everyone in the region, including local Miami Gardens residents, and we look forward to working with Superintendent Carvalho, Dr. Steve Gallon, and the District to bring innovative STEM programming to local students, such as 'Formula One in Schools,' a global engineering competition."

F1 has also been keen to reassure fans that the Miami Grand Prix will not simply be "a race in a parking lot". Initial renderings of the circuit created concerns that it could be a repeat of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas, which took place on a temporary track in the famous casino's parking lot. But F1's motorsport director Ross Brawn insists that is not the case.

"We've all got these memories of car park racing circuits -- they were dreadful," Brawn said. "Our mantra is it has to be a great racing circuit to begin with. We're not just going to cram races in to get them in a place because they don't last. We've designed a 5.6 km racing circuit, average speed of about 230 km/h, good complex of corners.

"It will be semi-permanent - there will be a lot of things they'll put up for the race and take down for when they're using the stadium for its usual purpose. But actually I think a great solution for us to race in Miami.

"We hope the Miami fans and the Miami people get behind it because it would be a fantastic event for the area. But also the prestige of an international sporting event in that area, I think is a great asset, a great event. I think it would be spectacular."

F1's original plans for a race in Miami saw it loop around the city's downtown area near Bayfront Park, but local opposition saw the whole project delayed and moved to the area around the Hard Rock Stadium. If the new plans are approved, Miami would feature on the 2021 calendar in addition to the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, which has a contract that runs until the end 2021.