Nothing like a provocative headline to get your attention – but you need to get this message loud and clear – because this is exactly what is happening with the proposed Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
In recent months, and even more so in recent weeks, a mysterious outside group has been using sophisticated social media buys to fuel opposition to Formula 1 in Miami Gardens.
This stealthy group out of Austin, Texas – not coincidentally the only other city in the entire U.S. that hosts Formula 1 – is alleging that auto racing poses health risks to nearby residents.
And now some Miami Gardens residents and politicians have raised the same concerns, with the City Council voting in October against Formula 1 – on that basis. A county auditor’s report seemed to validate their concerns, corroborating the dangerous noise levels, air pollution, and traffic disruptions that Formula 1 would potentially generate.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, however, debunked the commission auditor’s report after looking into the actual studies the auditor sited. In fact, what he found was information indicating that Formula 1 did not cause hearing damage among nearby residents or air pollution – evidence that was selectively left out of the auditor’s report.
Formula 1 also rebutted that information in a letter to the mayor and all county commissioners. One thing you should know is that in the 70 years of Formula 1 racing, there has never been a claim against them for noise or air pollution.
I mean, would you actually support ceasing a once-a-year fireworks show because of noise pollution? Or air pollution? Really?
I agree with Mayor Gimenez that local neighborhood concerns can be addressed with mitigation measures by Formula 1 organizers and that the city council should work with Formula 1 to mitigate the issues and bring another Super-Bowl level event here.
Race organizers at Hard Rock Stadium have offered to invest in noise-absorbing
barriers that will make the race less disruptive, as well as a community benefits program to ensure meaningful benefits to residents and nearby businesses.
The city might also consider negotiating an investment in parks or a neighborhood magnet school that could teach kids to create or work for businesses that serve Formula 1 each year.
One thing we know for sure – much of the local neighborhood opposition is being fueled by the race sponsors from Austin, who will apparently do whatever it takes to keep their golden goose from migrating south to beautiful Miami.
While this is all unbecoming, it seems it is the new normal. Competition is healthy, but monopolies are not. Special interest groups from Austin should not be working in the shadows to deprive Miami of a Formula 1 race.
I know Austin feels threatened by a Miami race. Maybe they should be. Formula 1 in Miami will be a huge success and second to none.
So, to our local leaders and residents, I say, “gentlemen, start your engines.” Now’s the time to begin driving your energies and enthusiasm toward support of Formula 1 here in Miami – and in the process, put the brakes on outside interference.