The chairman of Circuit of the Americas, Bobby Epstein shares a few insights with the Paddock magazine about the United States Grand Prix’s development, Formula 1 in the USA and putting on a great show for the race fans.
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Having personally experienced the American GP’s evolution, how would you compare it today to how it was in 2012?
In the first several years, we’ve been able to try new things, figure out what works and how to incorporate all that into the whole experience of the US GP. We’re glad to see people returning to this race year after year, and the Grand Prix has taken its place in the Formula 1 calendar as a marquee event that is in itself bigger than just the race. I’d say for the first two years from 2012, we had race fans. We now have event fans.
And has social media become a bigger part of your work life since those days?
It has. Social media is now a huge part of any company, organisation or other kinds of business structure, so I can definitely say that we’re not the exception here.
How do you see Formula 1 today? Is it still the pinnacle of motorsport? Is the exclusivity still there?
Absolutely, on all fronts. It’s the pinnacle of motorsport in terms of organisation, racing and innovative technology.
I’d say for the first two years from 2012, we had race fans. We now have event fans.
In your opinion, what’s the easiest way for Formula 1 to get more popular in the USA?
We need a combination of year-round visibility through TV coverage and an American driver who could become the champion – not just a competitor, but a racer that would actually win Grands Prix. That would certainly be the quickest, most effective way for American racing fans to switch to Formula 1. I don’t really see that happening in the next few years, that’s why the best long-term decision would probably be to highlight the drivers’ personalities as much as possible in order for the fans to start admiring them. The drivers are already being made more accessible nowadays, so we’re taking the appropriate steps. Obviously, we need to keep putting on a great show at Circuit of the Americas every year.
What’s your take on how Liberty Media is doing so far?
I think everything is moving in the right direction. Liberty Media are our partners in the sport and we can feel that they have the same goals as everyone else involved in Formula 1.
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