It took up to 16 years for Frank Stronach’s IndyCar series to join the main Formula 1 circuit but it appears that North America is about to record the fastest turnaround in sporting history after all.
The Miami Grand Prix was formally announced as part of a “major announcement” that will take place at the same venue on Wednesday.
Stronach has previously bid on this date for a new Formula 1 race, but has so far fallen short. He told Time magazine in October that the event will take place on a street circuit and would cost around $400m.
“I’m very optimistic,” Stronach told the Associated Press. “The way things are going, I just don’t see the next few years going that badly.”
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The American IndyCar series is set to start in late June 2022 and will match the schedule of F1, meaning the Grand Prix is scheduled to run on the seventh Saturday of the 12-race season. Miami would become only the third city outside of Europe to have an F1 race.
The other two cities, Baltimore and Austin, have proposed local races but have failed to secure approval from F1’s ruling board.
Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of F1, said in 2012 he was willing to let Stronach host a F1 race in his Baltimore grand prix and that the deal was agreed in principle. But the British businessman later raised doubts about whether Stronach and other backers would be able to develop a suitable track.
Sebastian Vettel had a breakthrough season for Ferrari in 2016 and has continued to rise since then. As the German driver approaches the peak of his career, F1 fans can look forward to a new driver in 2019.
Max Verstappen’s contract is set to expire this summer and Stronach said in the AP interview that he will attempt to persuade the 19-year-old to sign a multi-year contract with Red Bull.
The Dutchman would be only the third driver to drive for several different teams over his career. He has joined Red Bull since the 2013 season after five seasons with Toro Rosso and another year with Toro Rosso as part of Red Bull’s junior programme.
Verstappen gained his maiden grand prix win last season by beating Vettel in Azerbaijan. He was also a contender in the 2014 and 2015 world championships with Toro Rosso and Red Bull. He missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons while he was sidelined by injuries sustained in a crash during the United States Grand Prix.
F1’s negotiating team are expected to meet with the crew of New Zealand driver Brendon Hartley at the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend. The 26-year-old has not received confirmation from Red Bull regarding whether he will be retained for 2019.