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F1 is just getting started in the US, says Brown

NEWS STORY
19/10/2023

Three Grands Prix is just the start, says Zak Brown, as America continues to welcome F1 with open arms.

This weekend sees the Circuit of the Americas host the United States Grand Prix, the second of three races to be held in the country this year.

Over the years, F1 fans in the US have been treated shamefully by the sport, be it in terms of some of the lacklustre venues or the failure to even visit.

All that changed however with the sport's acquisition in 2017 by Liberty Media, which from the outset was determined to boost the sport's profile in its own backyard.

Now, courtesy of the likes of Drive to Survive, F1 is enjoying an unparalleled boom in the home of the automobile and McLaren boss, Zak Brown believes that this is just the start.

"It's awesome that Formula One has finally caught on in North America," he tells Reuters. "It has happened much more rapidly and more significantly than I ever thought possible, which is great news.

"You've got three great locations now with Miami, Las Vegas and Austin, and you have a new TV contract where they spent a lot more, so they are going to invest a lot more in the product," he adds.

"The races are all sold out, corporate hospitality is off the charts. The awareness for Formula One is fantastic," he continues, before admitting "but its TV ratings in North America relative to other major forms of sport are still very low. There's a lot of room for viewership growth."

Indeed, despite the hoo-ha, though viewing figures have increased, it is still only a small fraction of Americans that actually watch the sport, and while Drive to Survive projects a certain image the reality is somewhat different.

Indeed, there are fears that Max Verstappen and Red Bull's continued domination will compromise the sport's rise in popularity, a situation not helped by the fact that other sports have now realised the effectiveness of Drive to Survive in winning over a new audience.

Nonetheless, Brown is undeterred. "Las Vegas is the hottest sporting ticket, not just in North America, but the world," he says.

As Drive to Survive comes under fierce competition, the sport is now relying on the impact of the Brad Pitt movie, which Brown believes will help F1 take another significant step forward in the US.

"I think we all saw Top Gun and fancied being a fighter pilot and Tom Cruise when we all grew up, or at least that was the impact the movie had on me.

"And I think that's the impact the movie's going to have on men and women, boys and girls around the world. They're going to go, this sport is cool. So I think it'll bring in new fans and I think people will be fascinated.

"The Brad Pitt movie, the new television contract, put it all that together and I think it's still early days in America."

Certainly, in the last couple of years the sport has been seriously 'Americanised'. Not that long ago, COTA was having to host pop concerts over the Grand Prix weekend in order to pay the bills, now the race is all part of the entertainment package, with other circuits around the world having to follow suit.

It's F1 Zak, but not as we knew it.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Anthony, 20/10/2023 10:21

"The decision to make this a sprint event with the sprint race starting at midnight in Europe pretty much guarantees that no one east of New York will watch it! Somehow I don’t think that the new US viewers will compensate for those not viewing elsewhere….."

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2. Posted by elsiebc, 19/10/2023 18:30

"I like the lack of popularity here in the US. I get to record all the sessions and watch them at my leisure. Any F1 friends know to start conversations with "did you watch ___ yet?" If the answer is "no" you just talk about other things."

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3. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 19/10/2023 14:55

"Keep blowing the bubble, Zak, it's going to burst one day soon.

@ F1nerd - it's a bit of a pain here (for me anyway), I'm used to waking up, watching either live, or recorded "live", then getting on with the rest of the day."

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4. Posted by F1nerd, 19/10/2023 10:51

"Great for the USA, but not good for Europe regarding the viewing times.
Qualifying this weekend is at midnight due to it being one of those "stupid" sprint weekends."

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