By Ryan Werner | It all started when a Formula 1 specific track was built in Austin, Texas for the 2012 season, after five years of not having the world’s highest level of car racing competitions in the United States. COTA (Circuit of the Americas), the country’s signature track is now considered one of the best circuits of the globe. But let’s look at the role Formula 1 plays here.
Having a US-owned team is also beneficial for the marketplace. Haas F1 have been selling Formula 1 merchandise at COTA fan shops and other racing events prior to the GP, such as the Grand Prix of Texas from Pirelli World Challenge at the beginning of September and at the 6 Hours of COTA from FIA WEC, recently held. The only Formula 1 team that had gear for sale there was Haas, with a fair percentage of the items displayed.
Since Formula 1 was acquired by Liberty Media, a US-based corporation, the local awareness for the series has increased significantly – Liberty are focusing their efforts in digital sources for promotion of the events due to the massive reach.
You hear more people talking about the sport, people who are involved in motorsports start to follow the series even more and not just focus on NASCAR or Indy. Some fans who used to attend multiple races a year stop attending their usual events just to be able to save for just one race, the US Grand Prix in Austin. That’s dedication!
Zak Brown has also played an important role in the evolution of the sport in the USA; his commitment to the series through McLaren F1 has been noticeable. Having Fernando Alonso race at the Indy 500 was a brilliant idea as he’s of the most popular drivers of present times; this made him Fernando the centre of attention to IndyCar fans, with a big percentage of them now adding the Texas race to their bucket list of elite sporting events.
Now, the series is considering hosting more races in North America, and key markets such as New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas are often mentioned in various discussions. Liberty Media have thrown around hints about turning the Formula 1 race into a week-long festivity with surrounding events like the Super Bowl.
As for Mexico, bringing a race to the country made a big difference. Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez saw a combined total of over 335,000 spectators throughout their first Formula 1 weekend of the 21st century. Following rates continue to grow and having a driver that represents the nation couldn’t be better. Sergio Perez, who has been recognised as one of Mexico’s top professional athletes of all times, continues to grow his fan club year after year, since the Gran Premio de Mexico was brought back in 2015 after 23 years, and the power of digital media helps us measure it all. Mexican motorsports executives support the idea of organising more Formula 1 races in the region; they obviously agree that this would boost the series on this side of the planet.