Formula One: Layout and race schedule changes for Miami GP after local opposition

Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (front) leads the race at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, on Dec 1, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (REUTERS) - Formula One and the organisers of a Miami Grand Prix planned for 2021 have changed the proposed layout and race schedule after objections from local residents worried about excessive noise and air pollution.

The sport said in a statement on Tuesday (Jan 21) that the modifications followed months of dialogue with residents, elected officials, faith leaders, local businesses and scientific experts.

The revised track still winds around the Miami Dolphins NFL team's Hard Rock Stadium but cuts out a street whose use residents had feared would cause traffic disruption.

Organisers have also promised to revise the race schedule so that there would be no practice for the race before 3 pm on the Friday to ensure schools were not disrupted.

Miami-Dade commissioners are due to meet on Wednesday to vote on a measure that would revoke the stadium's zoning rights and prevent the race taking place.

Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium vice chairman and chief executive Tom Garfinkel said in Tuesday's statement that the Formula One race would provide "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," he added.

Formula One is keen to expand in the United States, a key market which currently has only one grand prix at a purpose-built track in Austin, Texas.

The sport's owners, US-based Liberty Media, want to bring in more 'destination cities' like Miami but have hit repeated obstacles.

Formula One and local organisers last April abandoned plans to hold the race in the downtown area after businesses and residents objected.

They announced new plans in October shifting it to the stadium, which belongs to real estate mogul and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who will fund construction of the track and cover race costs.

This year's record 22-race calendar features a new grand prix in Vietnam and the return of the Dutch Grand Prix for the first time since 1985.

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