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Friday, May 24, 2024

Miami GP Highlights Continued Formula One Investment in the U.S.

  • South Florida’s race is under the portfolio of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
  • Miami takes a different approach from Las Vegas and Austin.
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

As Formula One takes over South Florida for the Miami Grand Prix, the investment in the race, its operations, and the fanfare that comes with it is a prime example of continued interest in the sport from U.S. stakeholders.

F1 now has three events in the U.S., which all seem set for long runs in their locales, but each one has its own unique draw. The Las Vegas Grand Prix is owned and operated by Formula One, a clear indicator of belief in the market by Liberty Media, F1’s American parent company. In Austin, the U.S. Grand Prix is managed by Circuit of The Americas, the track that was built with F1 in mind upon opening in 2012. And the Miami Grand Prix falls under the stewardship of Stephen Ross (above), the billionaire owner of the Dolphins.

Las Vegas is a street race that caused plenty of headaches in the lead-up to its debut, and COTA hosts many other motor-sports events in Austin year-round, but Miami is different altogether. The race takes place on a temporary track that is annually constructed outside Hard Rock Stadium. This year, that meant more than 1,000 workers on-site every day since the March 17 conclusion of the ATP/WTA Miami Open that is also held at and around the football venue.

Return on Investment

A source tells FOS that Ross, who bought a majority stake in the Dolphins in 2008 for $550 million, has privately invested more than $1 billion into improvements at Hard Rock Stadium and its surrounding area during his ownership tenure. During negotiations to bring F1 to South Florida, Ross was said to have offered to fund the $40 million necessary to build out the race’s infrastructure, according to the Miami Herald. That was back in ’19, at which time Forbes valued the Dolphins at $2.76 billion. This week, a USA Today report claimed that Ross recently turned down a $10 billion offer to buy the Dolphins, Miami GP, and Hard Rock Stadium. 

While Ross appears to be getting his money’s worth as a race owner and operator, there’s continued intrigue from U.S. power brokers on the team side of things, too. This week, 12 members of Congress wrote a letter to Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei raising anti-competitive concerns about the struggles of Michael Andretti’s efforts to enter F1 after securing a partnership with General Motors.

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