Formula E Won't Return To Miami, Where Environmentalists Clashed With Race
Will Formula E return to Miami?
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
This past March, tens of thousands of fans watched wide, sexy electric racecars zoom down Biscayne Boulevard as part of the first ever Formula E (for electric) racing series. The race marked the first time in decades — since the old Miami Grand Prix — that professional car racing had come to downtown Miami. Now it looks like it might have been the last: Formula E recently announced its schedule for the upcoming 2015-16 season, and Miami isn't on it.
The season begins in October in Beijing; after China the tour heads to nine other cities, including Buenos Aires, Berlin, and Moscow, all of which also held the event last year. Miami and Monaco were both cut; Paris and a yet-to-be-named city are in.
“For starters, it is a huge deal to be racing in Paris,” Alejandro Agag, the series founder, recently told Electric Autosport. “As for the other city, we have agreed to announce this later in the year but I can assure you it’s a great venue and we’re very excited.”
In order to host Miami's race earlier this year, organizers spent weeks — and millions of dollars — converting busy Biscayne Boulevard into a professional race track, complete with high perimeter walls. Downtown traffic was completely rerouted, and access to Bayfront Park and area museums was limited. The race itself was deemed a success, with high attendance and mostly favorable reviews, although the event drew the ire of many local environmentalists, who called organizers hypocrites for promoting a green race while paving over part of Parcel B.
"There's nothing green about it," Peter Ehrlich Jr., with the group Scenic Miami Dade, told New Times in March. "How do you justify calling something green and then applying to destroy a five-acre waterfront site?"
But Miami politicians loved the event. City Mayor Tomas Regalado, a fan of the old Grand Prix, was personally involved in convincing organizers to choose Miami in the first place; even before the race happened, city commissioners unanimously agreed to offer Miami as a host for another five years.
Now it's not clear why Formula E decided not to come back in its second season. In his interview with Electric Autosport, one of the few times Agag appears to have spoken about the new schedule, he didn't mention anything about Miami. With the Magic City out, Long Beach, California becomes the only stop in the U.S.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.