Formula One’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix has been a long time coming thanks to local residents who did everything they could to prevent a race from taking place at Miami Gardens. And despite a confirmed race taking place in under three weeks, those local residents are still trying to put a stop to the event by claiming that the noise levels will be so high that people will “suffer actual injury.”
Unable to prevent the race from going on, the Miami Gardens residents’ group that has been firmly anti-GP filed a lawsuit on March 1 that alleged an event there would “cause severe disruption and physical harm,” Motorsport.com reports.
Judge Alan Fine does not appear to be having any of it. He’s demanding that the activist group supply additional hard evidence as to why residents would suffer physical injury as a result of an F1 race. Initial evidence claimed that the event would result in a noise level of up to 97 decibels, or the equivalent chainsaw, within a 2.5-mile radius of the track.
Judge Fine offered a counterproposal: “There are a number of different ways to avoid the potential harm – one of course is to wear ear plugs, that’s one. Two, to leave.”
As reported by Motorsport.com, race promoter South Florida Motorsports has taken care to insulate the track as best as possible through PVC sheeting, which would help deaden sound before it could travel to residential areas.
As someone who’s attended several F1 races in the hybrid era, I can attest to the fact that the cars are not really all that loud. I’ve been able to faintly hear the sound of cars on track from a parking lot about a mile away from Circuit of the Americas proper, but it was by no means any louder than a plane passing by at altitude. Even near the track, you can still have a conversation overtop the engine noise.
That, of course, is just anecdotal evidence, and according to Judge Fine, the lawsuit is still in a “limbo state” as the local city government has yet to issue the special events permit to the race that would exempt it from local noise ordinances.
But the noise is currently not the only concern. The race has inspired legitimate criticisms on the part of the locals. Miami Gardens is not Miami proper, and local communities — predominately communities of color — are the ones being impacted by an event put on by the glitz and glamour of a predominately white F1. It’s kind of like finding out your annoying neighbors are hosting a party in your backyard, but with added layers of sociocultural concerns. Those concerns have been largely ignored in the state’s pursuit to become an F1 hotspot, and the noise lawsuit is a last ditch effort to put the race on hold.
Another hearing for this lawsuit will take place later today, April 20, at 2:30 p.m. local time.
UPDATE April 20, 2022 at 6:56 p.m. CT: This article has been amended to better take into consideration the concerns of Miami Gardens residents. I apologize for being insensitive to those issues and will be doing further research to understand it better.