Will F1 Work in America?

This year, we will see Formula 1 make a return to the United States in the Austin Grand Prix in November. Over the past decade, Formula 1 has expanded to many new places, mostly in developing countries. F1 will return to the United States for the first time in 2007, meaning that the sport has been absent for five years now. With a race in New Jersey planned for the 2013 season, the reaction from the viewers in the United States, and also around the world, is critical.

F1 will return to the US for the first time in 5 years

Many new races, such as Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, have been criticized heavily by Formula 1 fans as boring tracks designed specifically to make money for the F1 franchise. Whether this is true or not, many F1 fans prefer the classic European tracks such as Monza, Spa, and Silverstone. The fact that Spa will now alternate with a French GP every year has made several fans upset, and many fans asking for Formula 1 to return to its European roots. Will the new races in the United States be a further digression from the classical European F1, or will the United States provide exciting races that attract both international and domestic approval?

Races such as Bahrain have been criticized for being boring

I spent last night watching the Sao Paolo 300 Indycar race. It was the first Indycar race I was able to watch this season (I live in India and usually do not get the opportunity to watch American races). I was curious to see the race firstly because it was a street race, and also because I wanted to see how Rubens Barrichello was coping with his debut season in the Indycar season. I was happy to see that Rubens finished in 10th position, and was running up in 5th at one point during the race; he looked quite competitive.

Rubens looked to be adapting well to a completely new series

The more important factor here, however, is the racing. It was great. I was somewhat confused and naive at points as I know nothing about the teams, drivers, or strategies. Despite this, the racing was close, exciting, and left me wondering why I didn’t spent more time following the Indycar series.

The Sao Paolo 300 provided thrilling racing

Watching this race made me think -Will F1 work in the United States? If American motorsports fans already have their own “F1” to watch, why should they be interested in attending an F1 race. There are two sides to the coin on this question. A pessimistic opinion would claim that American fans should have no interest in F1 since they already have their own super-competitive series to watch, and know nothing about the likes of Alonso, Hamilton, and Vettel, and therefore will have no interest. A more positive outlook would say that American fans are curious to witness the “pinnacle of motorsport” for themselves, and will be hooked if the races are exciting.

If Austin provides an exciting race, they can gain a huge following for F1

There is a motorsport following in America, there really is. European fans often criticize Americans of watching cars go around in circles for hours, a feat that many claim takes no skill at all. Many European fans have never watched a Nascar or Indycar race, and haven’t noticed that the racing is always close, always rough, and always thrilling, even if the cars are driving around one ring. I hope that the American population will be open to the F1 races coming to Texas and to New Jersey, and I am sure that if they see an F1 race in person, they are incredibly likely to follow the sport for good. I encourage anyone who has never watched an Indycar or Nascar race (especially a circuit race such as Infineon) to do the same. True fans of racing will love both series.

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8 Comments

Filed under Controversy, For Fun

8 responses to “Will F1 Work in America?

  1. Nick Thomas

    From my experience growing up watching Nascar passionately every week with my father I think the only real tie Americans have to Nascar is familiarity. I would bet everything I have that if Nascar was taken off the air and f1 was put in it’s place the majority of nascar fans would make the switch in a few years (as long as they didn’t resent f1 for killing Nascar).

    Americans want something that feels important, the speed style of commercials missing the action and commentators not being at the event really takes away the epicness. They want something that has pre and post race shows talking about the significance of the race. They also wan’t something or someone to get behind so they feel as if they won when their team/driver wins. I think a few competitive Americans in the mix would do wonders.

    Right now I understand why f1 isn’t popular, it seems like a bunch of posh guys they don’t know competing in something with little significance. F1 just needs a big push instead of sporadic little ones and it would be mainstream in no time.

  2. This will blow your mind, Europe. I’m an American that doesn’t care for IndyCar, HATES NASCAR, and LOVES Formula 1. We do exist:)

  3. As an American F1 fan, I also hope Americans warm up to F1 over the next few years, and 2 local races can’t hurt. I also really enjoyed what I saw of the Sao Paolo race. When Indy races road and street courses, it’s one of the most interesting series in the world. The thing is, they also race on ovals, and I couldn’t be less interested in watching a race on an oval. Most American motorsport fans, on the other hand, prefer oval racing to circuit racing. I can make pejorative speculations about why, but the truth is that I’ll never understand it, and that’s just the way it is.

    Indy, which is, as you point out, our “own F1,” hasn’t been attracting enough fans in the past few years, and I really worry that this is a sign that open-wheeled circuit racing just isn’t interesting to the average American. I really, truly want this not to be the case, but I just can’t ditch the feeling…

    Thanks for the post, it was a good read đŸ™‚

  4. Pointblank

    Indy and F1 are two similar but very different sports. In Indy it’s all about the driver and car set up, the chassis and motor are the same in all cars. F1 is about driver and car build, what team can get the extra .1 of a second out of the aero. Indy is now a semi-open wheel car where F1 is still full-open.

  5. psw

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  6. Steve C

    The track in Austin is like no other in the world. The elevation changes from the front straight up to turn 1 is 133 ft. The layout is really cool and will be the place to be for American motorsports in the future.

    What is needed in America, as far as F1 goes, is a very good marketing platform. We will come out. Remember, in the history of US F1, attendance was never under 100,000.

  7. I feel like the United States is already a part of classic F1 due to Watkins Glen. People forget that Formula One has a very rich American history. It’s not like this is some ‘new’ sport to us.

  8. wes

    I have only recently become a fan of F1. About 3 years ago i was up late and saw formula 1 come on SPEED and i watched the whole thing. I thought it was pretty good. So i stayed up the next weekend and there was no race. I was like hmmm. So i looked on the tivo and saw there was a race for the following weekend so i set it up to tivo so i could watch it later. After that i started tivoing every race (on of the big problems for americans is that it normally comes on at 3-6 am). I found it compelling racing. I did have my doubt though, but i have been a fan of indycar on and off and growing up i was a big nascar fan.

    I think people think trying to go as fast as possible is racing. Its more than that. And i hate to say it but thw reason why most americans watch nascar are because of the spectacular crashes they have and then everyone gets out an walks away. The other reason os that in nascar you tap the guy next to you nothing really happens to your car. In open wheel if you touch there is almost always a crash or some linkage gets broken and your favorite guy gets knocked out while the other guy drives away without any retalition.

    I love the oval racing although it does get boring in the middle at times. But its no less boring than watching the parade that was F1 at times. I think dario francitti got it right when he say, about alonso not being able to pass petrov that allowed vettel to win his first championship, “a second a lap quicker and you still cant pass” i know that has changes with perelli tires and drs and kers so it has made the racing very very good this year. Hope it stays that way

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