Locals Keep Trying to Block F1 Miami Grand Prix Just Weeks Before the Race

The city has yet to grant a special event permit for the grand prixs.

byHazel Southwell|
Locals Keep Trying to Block F1 Miami Grand Prix Just Weeks Before the Race
Via F1MiamiGP.com.


Formula 1's Miami Grand Prix was announced a year ago but with just a few weeks left before the event, there's still a major legal challenge from locals. Plus, the city has yet to issue a special event permit. One judge has until Monday to decide whether to rule against the event before the permit has even been issued, in what would be a new legal precedent.

Right back to when the event was first mooted, there were resident concerns raised about noise levels and the impact on the Miami Gardens area where the race is due to be held. Three days before the first announcement, a resolution got passed that authorized the event to go ahead along with $5 million of investment into the local area, STEM programs, and community benefits. Rightly, residents pointed out that Formula 1 is a billion-dollar organization and they were being flung scraps compared to what the event would rake in, with the city voting against their interests by passing the resolution.

Willy T Ribbs, Miami Gardens Councilman Robert Stephens, Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris, On Air personality of On The Track Tony Lesesne, and Miami Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs Jason Jenkins speak to students under the F1 in Schools program

The promoters have been at pains to show that money is being spent. There's been an internship scheme and community outreach events including F1 In Schools visits with former NASCAR driver and the first black driver to test an F1 car, Willy T. Ribbs. On the flip side, the event is an absurd degree of luxury glamor even by F1 standards. From grandstand seats costing thousands of dollars per ticket to a constructed lack replete with Monaco-style superyachts, the whole thing drips with money that residents say they're not seeing the benefits of, while there will be significant downsides for them.

Last August F1 confirmed the race would run in May this year and track construction's been underway since before last year's U.S. Grand Prix at COTA. But the special event permit that needs to be issued for it has yet to be put in place. It seems pretty obvious that the event's been authorized and there's a heck of a lot of money being spent on it but crucially, without the details of the permit being issued, there's nothing to legally challenge in terms of residents' specific complaints about noise, which they say will be intolerable up to a 2.5-mile radius around the event.

In a case brought to court this week and reported in the Miami Herald, residents said that the event would, over three days, cause noise interference of up to 97 decibels (about the same as a chainsaw) to local neighborhoods. That goes against the city's noise ordinance for a bedroom community, the residents' lawyer said, and the case was asking that a judge move to block the event on those grounds.

However, since the permit has yet to be issued, there's kind of nothing to block yet. Judge Alan Fine said that having to decide on this so close to the event was basically pretty unreasonable, especially as there's no legal precedent for blocking an event that technically isn't permitted to go ahead. He's set to make a decision on what to do this coming Monday, by which time there's every chance the permit still won't have been issued.

One way for the promoters to make sure the event goes ahead is to hold out on the permit until it's too late to block. That would be a pretty nasty way to treat residents around the area you're trying to grow a "Super Bowl every year" event, though.

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