F1 Grand Prix chiefs consider major change which would be bad news for UK fans

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The Miami GP track is centred upon the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team (Image: Getty Images)
The Miami GP track is centred upon the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team (Image: Getty Images)

The president of the Miami Grand Prix has admitted chiefs are considering switching the event to a night race in the future.

The Florida event has only been on the Formula 1 calendar for the past two seasons. But, even though the track around the Hard Rock Stadium is temporary, the Grand Prix is very much here to stay.

Miami has a contract up to and including the 2031 season. And it is one of a minimum of three annual trips to the US for the foreseeable future, with Austin and Las Vegas events also planned in for the long term.

The latter will be a Saturday night race, meaning fans in the UK will have to rise at the crack of dawn for the 6am formation lap on Sunday. And it might not be the only US-based Grand Prix which has an unsociable start time in the future.

Mirror Sport reported in May that Miami race organisers were in talks with F1 chiefs over potentially switching it to a night race. And although the chances of that happening in time for next year's race in the Sunshine State, the idea remains very much on the agenda.

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Miami GP president Tyles Epp has admitted that talks over the plan continue, but said there would need to be a clear reason for them to make the change. "We've talked about, 'Could we do this? Does this make sense?', " he told reporters.

"We didn't really get too deep into the analysis because at some point, it's, why are you doing it? Like, let's make sure there's a justifiable reason. [It's] very unlikely we would do it for 2024. We will continue to evaluate. We're always looking at ways to make the experience better.

"If we get to the place where Formula 1 says this really does work for us from a broadcast perspective, and this makes a lot of sense, certainly we'll take a look at it."

Two of the five night races this season have already been held, in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, while the Singapore, Qatar and Las Vegas Grands Prix are still to come. But the latter is the only one which presents a challenge in terms of timings for viewers in the UK, given that the US is several hours behind.

And the difference between Vegas and Miami is significant in itself. The Nevadan city will be seven hours behind the UK by the time daylight saving time ends in October, but there is only five hours' difference between Florida and the UK in May, when the Miami GP is held, meaning the race would likely take place in the small hours for British fans if it were to become a night race.

Daniel Moxon

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