The only thing most paddock people miss about the Valencia Grand Prix was the proximity of the beach to the circuit.

The pit garages smelled of the fish market they had once been, pickpocketing was rife in the local bars and restaurants - and the less said about the ‘unisex’ bathrooms in the media centre, the better.

More grands prix should come with sand and surf, and for years there has been a lot of wistful chatter about an imaginary South Beach street race, with cars racing past art deco glories while attendees down neon frozen margaritas in glasses the size of their heads.

Barcelona F1 GP Sizzling Moments

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Sadly, the proposed Miami race isn’t going to run through South Beach, but that’s the only dot of cloud in an event that should be mostly silver lining.

The United States is, as we all know, a massive and desirable market for just about any business you could imagine, F1 included. But F1’s attempts to maintain a foothold in the US fell flat around the time of the Indianapolis debacle in 2005, and the much-hyped New Jersey race with the Manhattan backdrop went the way of the dodo at the start of the current decade.

The success of the COTA project in Austin allowed for a certain amount of face-saving, but under both the old regime and the new one, adding (at least…) a second US race to the calendar was a key priority and has been for years.

But it’s not a box-ticking exercise. Previous failed experiments in Phoenix and Las Vegas showed that adding a round is futile if said round is in the wrong place, at the wrong time of year, and on the wrong temporary circuit.

The jury is still out on the proposed Miami layouts currently doing the rounds online, with Lewis Hamilton asking in Barcelona why drivers weren’t asked for their input on new circuits in the same way professional golfers consult on course design. But the Miami project has so far received only preliminary approval. There are still more hoops to be jumped through and boxes to be ticked.

As things stand, the Miami Grand Prix is more of a statement of firm intent than it is a concrete addition to the calendar. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and there remains the remote possibility that the race will be derailed before it happens.

That possibility is remote, however, given the involvement of Stephen Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins and a serious player in Miami sport. A real estate mogul who started life as a tax attorney, Ross is a noted philanthropist. But where his interests get interesting (sorry not sorry!) is with his 50 percent stake in FanVision, which many F1 fans will remember as Kangaroo TV - and which is back this year as F1Vision.

Ross has his fingers in a lot of sporting pies. FanVision is used throughout American sports, and is an official partner of NASCAR, the US Open, and the PGA Tour. Since 2008, he has been a part owner of the Dolphins, increasing his stake in 2009.

But where Ross really becomes an intriguing prospect as a race promoter is with RSE Ventures, “a multi-national sports and entertainment venture firm with a focus on new technologies” that Ross co-founded with Matt Higgins, a former VP with the New York Jets, in 2012.

It is through RSE that Ross is part owner of FanVision. RSE offers something of a full service to anyone hoping to put on a spectacular event of exactly the sort that Formula 1 hope to achieve in Miami. Sub-companies include Thuzio, which connects businesses with celebrities and influencers; Poptip, which focuses on social polling and understanding public opinion in real time; and PrePlay Sports, a sporting predictions app popular stateside.

Ross’ existing business interests dovetail perfectly with Liberty’s plans for Formula 1: fan engagement, interaction, digital chatter, and social media influencers all working together to spread the F1 message to pastures new.

“Miami is a first-class global city and Formula 1 is a first-class global brand," Ross said earlier this month. "In cooperation with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, I am confident we can deliver yet another global event that will be a destination for people from around the world and drive economic value to South Florida.

"From football and soccer to tennis and motorsports, Miami deserves only the best in music, food, art, fashion, and sports and entertainment, and that is exactly what we plan on delivering with a Formula 1 race.”

Ross is an existing power player in the city of Miami, and a man who has already proved he can make things happen in the sporting arena.

And while Formula 1 were clear that the Miami race is currently a proposal, not a confirmed event - releasing a statement to that effect on Thursday evening - Ross’ presence is as close to a guarantee as you can get at this stage.



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