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Fun and games in Miami as Carey admits frustration

NEWS STORY
23/02/2020

No doubt it was trebles all round at F1 Towers on Thursday after hopes of staging a Formula One race cleared a "major hurdle", according to some sections of the media.

The hurdle in question was a piece of legislation that would have required the event to be approved by both the Miami Gardens City Council and Miami-Dade County, and if successfully passed would have dealt a major blow to F1's hopes.

However, a 6-6 vote meant the legislation wasn't passed and consequently no such approval for the event was needed.

"We are happy that the commissioners reaffirmed again today that the Hard Rock Stadium entertainment complex is a regional facility that exists to benefit all of Miami-Dade County," said Miami Dolphins CEO, Tom Garfinkel. "We are glad to put this long-delayed vote behind us so we can begin to make the multi-million dollar private investment required to bring a race here, and have positive and productive conversations with local leadership about the many benefits that a global event of this nature brings."

Miami-Dade Mayor, Carlos A. Gimenez was quick to calm local fears (again), insisting that the revised track layout, which meant no public roads would be used and the entire circuit would be within the grounds of the stadium.

"To further address the concerns of Miami Gardens residents, the Dolphins commissioned an acoustical impact study that focused on the Formula 1 track that would go on the Hard Rock Stadium property and measured maximum sound levels inside the nearest homes during race times," he said. "The maximum sound levels inside the nearest homes would be below 76 decibels. This is well below the level of other events held at the stadium such as concerts - including the recent SuperFest Miami - with the implementation of recommended sound mitigation strategies."

However, shortly after the vote a group of local residents and associations filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County against the Dolphins, a number (Dolphin's owner) Stephen Ross' race organizing companies and Formula One Management itself.

Despite Gimenez' assurances, the residents and associations are seeking an injunction on the race because they claim it will violate county and city noise laws.

Forbes reports that according to the Dolphins, an acoustical impact study carried out by Edward Dugger + Associates (ED+A) showed that even in the homes closest to the track sound levels would not cause any hearing damage.

The complaint reveals that the Dolphins have offered to build a 10 foot high buffer on the north edge of the track which, they say, would reduce maximum sound levels to between 86 and 89 decibels. Further, the complaint adds that increasing the height of the structure to 15 feet would result in maximum sound levels of between 83 and 86 decibels.

Even so, the complaint claims that "residents and institutions within a radius of at least 4,044 meters (13,268 ft, or approximately 2.5 miles) will, to a certainty, experience levels of noise... that will disturb their peace, quiet and comfort, disrupt normal speech, and consequently seriously degrade their quality of life", adding that "according to calculations by the acoustical engineering firm of Leider & Associates, peak noise levels exceeding 97 dBA (similar to the sound levels produced by a chainsaw) can be expected at residences within a 2.5-mile radius of the Stadium, with significantly higher levels at residences closer to the track. Hearing damage is quite possible with exposure to 95 dBA at 50 minutes or 100 dBA at 15 minutes."

"Residents closest to the track, within a radius of 95 meters projected on a tangent from the track, can expect to experience the most painful levels beyond those of annoyance," says the complaint.

Of course, fans know all about the sound of F1, certainly the contemporary, hybrid era, for the lack of that spine-tingling sound beloved of fans from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s is sadly missing.

Indeed, in reaction to the criticism of the sound following the introduction of the new formula in 2014, the FIA was quick to react, and claimed that while the volume of the previous V8 formula was 145 decibels - a claim supported by Craig Dolder, a doctoral candidate in acoustical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, who measured the peak at almost 140 decibels and said that "noise levels at Formula One races are loud enough to potentially cause hearing loss" - the new V6 hybrid formula is measured 134 decibels.

Indeed, according to Formula One's governing body, this exceeds the threshold of pain and is louder than the front rows of a rock concert.

At the 2014 United States Grand Prix, the FIA took thousands of sound measurements and found that the sound level peaked at 110 decibels with an average of 93.8. However, this was on a 1,500 acre open site, not in a city.

Furthermore, add in noise pollution form the six or so 747s transporting around 50 tons of freight per team, 30 containers of hospitality facilities and 150,000 kilograms of broadcast equipment... not to mention private jets and an estimated 4,000 helicopter take offs and landings, and one can see that the Miami locals might have a point.

Indeed, even Chase Carey is beginning to feel that, despite Thursday's hurdle being cleared, hopes of a Miami race are fading fast.

"We were aware that it takes time in the USA," he tells Motorsport-total.com. "On the other hand, it must also be said that it is taking longer than we hoped.

"It's frustrating because we've invested a lot of time, but there seems to be increasing complexity."

"I think we have to come to terms with the reality that it is a time frame of more than five years," he admits. "The goal now is a race over the next five to ten years from today."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by F1nerd, 29/02/2020 10:06

"How about Laguna Seca."

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2. Posted by BrightonCorgi, 24/02/2020 20:12

"Does the US really need two races? COTA is perfect. Keep Mexico and Canada... "

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3. Posted by Anthony, 23/02/2020 20:23

"“More than 5 years” - thank god!"

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4. Posted by Lakota, 23/02/2020 15:03

"Need to go back to Indy. "

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