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Hamilton: F1 needs to be in New York

NEWS STORY
20/10/2016

When Bernie Ecclestone finally decides he has had enough of F1, there will be very few objectives he failed in succeeding. Top of the list however, is sure to be the fact that he was unable, despite years of trying, to have F1 cars racing through the streets of more capital cities, especially Paris, Rome, London and New York.

A race with Manhattan as the backdrop looked likely a couple of years back, but in reality Leo Hindery's Port Imperial Street Circuit was dead and buried from the outset.

Indeed, much to Ecclestone's frustration it appears F1 has lost out to Formula E with a race on the streets of Brooklyn scheduled for next year.

Speaking ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix in Austin, Lewis Hamilton has admitted that like Ecclestone he wants to see F1 on the streets of New York, claiming that it would be "epic" for the sport.

"They had the New Jersey plan, but I wasn't massively disappointed (when it failed) because I want it in New York City, in the centre of New York City," he told ESPN.

"If Formula One wants to be big in the States we need to have that race in the heart of New York City somehow," he continued. "The roads are terrible, but that would be epic! Street races are special, particularly when the sound was really good, it might not sound as great now, but it would still be epic. If we are able to do that it would be great, because then people are forced to watch it and maybe you can infect more people with that F1 bug.

"When the whole of New York knows that one of the biggest events coming to town is F1, that would be big. Right now, probably half the people in New York don't know what F1 is, maybe more, but it's certainly a large proportion."

While half of New York might not be aware of F1, the sport's return to the United States in the shape of Austin, not to mention his rock 'n' roll lifestyle, has raised the Stevenage Rocket's profile in the U. S. of A.

"It's a lot different to how it used to be," he admits, "I might be running in LA and people notice me, which I'm shocked by. Last time I was in LA, which is a while ago now, I was running and bumped into some people and they just happened to be hard-core Formula One fans. I think in the States they are such big sporting fans that they don't half-arse it and just casually watch Formula One, they are actually super into it and addicted or not at all.

"Most Americans I meet, if they ask me about my job to start a conversation they get hooked and they start asking me a whole lot of questions. They really get hooked and then they start watching, and I've got people that I've met from American who have become dear friends and they message me religiously on race weekends. They know where I'm going to be before I know and they get up at all the funny hours to watch.

"I don't mean it in a bad way," he enthuses, "but it's like a bit like a virus that's not that easy to catch, but when you do catch it you get hooked on it. I think Americans are more immune to it, not 100 percent immune to it, but when they get caught they are pulled in.

"That's great and that's why we need to add more races and get more people knowing about it, because they are crazy sportsmen and women and they've been fascinated by it in my experience."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Austin, here.

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