New McLaren executive director Zak Brown is confident Formula 1 can thrive in the United States if it gets more exposure with the addition of a second race.
New F1 owners Liberty Media, whose shareholders will vote on the impending deal by the US conglomerate to purchase the series on Tuesday 17 January, have already said they are keen to expand the sport’s reach in America.
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Bernie Ecclestone has been actively trying to put F1 on the US map for decades, but it has struggled to establish itself in a market dominated by giants such as football (NFL), basket (NBA), baseball (MLB), and NASCAR in the field of racing.
Speaking to NBC Sports, Brown, who was hired by McLaren at the end of last year, remains upbeat about F1’s prospects stateside.
“I think it can be very big in North America,” said the 45-year-old US motorsport marketing expert. “I think the only reason it’s not is that there’s not enough of it.
“We need a second race. The television is very good, the addition of Haas F1 Team is a good thing. An American driver would be nice but I don’t think there’s one around the corner.
“A second race and the teams need to do a better job of helping promote the sport and it can get there. It’s moved around too much, it’s not had races.
“We need some stability and date equity which Austin brings, but we need a second race.”
Austin’s Circuit of the Americas has been hosting the United States Grand Prix since 2012, but the 2016 edition had it lowest TV rating in America since moving to NBC in 2013, per sportsmediawatch.com.
Regarding the lack of homegrown talents, Alexander Rossi impressed during his five-race audition with Manor at the end of 2015 but the California-born ace failed to gain a full-time seat the following season. He went on to win the iconic Indy 500 as a rookie instead…
Haas has US teenager Santino Ferrucci on its roster, with team boss Guenther Steiner confident the 18-year-old remains the most promising American prospect across the feeder series.
As for the need to add a second race to “North America”, isn’t there a popular event already held around Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve? But we’re just quibbling over semantics here.
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