F1 Miami Grand Prix could be under threat as residents submit lawsuit

The inaugural F1 Miami Grand Prix could be under threat after local residents submitted a lawsuit against the race organisers.

F1 is due to travel to Miami next month for one of two races in the United States this season. The Grand Prix will take place between May 4-6.

Read: Las Vegas Grand Prix: What we know so far as F1 announces new race

Last year, the FIA agreed to a 10-year contract for the city to host the race at the Miami International Autodrome. The track is situated around the Hard Rock Stadium, home to NFL side Miami Dolphins.

The street circuit will span 19 corners. Early simulations suggest cars could reach speeds of around 320km/h,

When the race was announced last year, the official F1 website stated that the track “has been designed to encourage close racing while meeting the highest safety standards”.

Entertainment is on the minds of fans watching at home. However, residents in the Miami Gardens region have more pressing concerns.

Residents file lawsuit against Miami Grand Prix

The Miami Herald is reporting that a last-ditch lawsuit has been filed to cancel the race on noise pollution grounds.

Within the lawsuit is the claim that the hosting of the race would “cause severe disruption and physical harm to Miami Gardens residents”.

It adds that an engineering firm has estimated the Grand Prix will produce 97 decibels of noise across a 2.5-mile radius.

According to the charity RNID, which works with those suffering from hearing loss or tinnitus, exposure to noise above 85dB can damage hearing over time. The 97-decibel figure is similar to a fire alarm. Furthermore, it is slightly above a lawnmower.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the Hard Rock Stadium and the city of Miami Gardens argue that it should be up to the city, not the court, to determine whether the Grand Prix “complies with the city’s noise ordinance”. They also want to wait for the decision over whether to issue a special events permit before any final call is made.

The case’s Court Judge, Alan Fine, stated: “Numerous courts before me have resisted the temptation to jump into something that hasn’t been issued yet. Shouldn’t I wait to see if the city manager issues the special events permit?”

Miami Grand Prix runs into further opposition

This isn’t the first significant dispute threatening the Miami Grand Prix. In 2020, residents filed a Federal Civil Rights lawsuit. It challenged the decision to hold the race based on the grounds of ‘racial discrimination‘.

In addition, the lawsuit alleged that the Mayor of the Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, conspired with Miami Dolphins and F1 organisers to host the race.

A resident of Miami Gardens, Betty Ferguson, said: “To try and foist this race into our community, without almost any input from residents who would be affected, is not only outrageous, but disrespectful to a predominantly African-American community whose voices, too often, are ignored. This is environmental racism, pure and simple.”

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in July of last year.

If the race happens, it will be the fifth Grand Prix of the 2022 season. It is shaping up to be an exciting campaign.

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Ferrari‘s Charles Leclerc currently leads the Drivers’ Championship after three rounds. He is 34 points ahead of George Russell in the Mercedes. The Monegasque has won two of the opening three rounds. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, is in fifth place in the standings.

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