Fernando Alonso would back a third American F1 race
F1’s American owner Liberty Media has made a big push to expand the sport’s presence in North America since coming on board in 2017.
Following the success of the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive, the new owners completed a deal to bring F1 to Miami from May 2022, which has secured a spot on a 23-race calendar that also includes Austin’s US GP in October.
But Liberty is investigating further American opportunities, with Las Vegas and Indianapolis mentioned as the two most likely options for a third grand prix in the States.
A Vegas event would likely involve a street race incorporating parts of the famous downtown Strip, while Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske is known to have had exploratory talks with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali about a long-term return to the Speedway’s road course, which last hosted F1 in 2007.
Alonso, who was in Miami on Tuesday to open a Kimoa/Simply EV store in F1’s latest host city along with its Mayor Francis Suarez, believes the US could support a third American race on the calendar.
“I guess so, I don’t see a problem with that,” Alonso told Motorsport.com in Miami. “The US is probably the biggest target for F1 right now with Liberty in charge of the sport.
“There are rumours it could happen in different places, Las Vegas or Indianapolis or whatever, so let’s see one step at a time. But let’s make a good grand prix in Miami next year first.
“I’m very, very excited to come here, it’s going to be one of the best races next year. It’s a new event, new city, I think a lot of people in the F1 community will discover Miami for the first time.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal and CEO, Aston Martin F1, is interviewed
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Szafnauer: “The F1 audience in the States can grow significantly”
Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer agrees F1 is right to pursue a third American race on its ever-expanding calendar as he believes the US market still has a lot of room for growth.
“If we added a third grand prix there, I think the American market is big enough that it’s not at its saturation point, that’s my opinion,” he said.
“Knowing NASCAR has 40 or so races, everyone still enjoys NASCAR. We’re a truly global sport, but I think that having three grands prix in a country like America is very much viable. There will be demand, I believe.”
Part of Szafnauer’s reasoning is that Drive to Survive has put F1 in front of a new audience and demonstrates that the sport has the right amount of storylines and entertainment to bring in a new fans.
“I’ve been an F1 fan since the early ’80s when I lived near Detroit [which hosted a grand prix between 1982 and 1988],” he explained. “I think with having more races in the American timezone, as well as Netflix Drive To Survive being so popular, I think that’s driven a wider and more diverse audience than just motor racing fans.
“I think our product is so entertaining and enticing, once you start getting the flavour for it and understanding it, then I think the F1 audience in the States can grow significantly. It’s been my experience that if a household watches F1, say the dad likes it, then the children start to like it, and it grows geometrically.
“If we can get that momentum, I think the growth can happen very quickly. We have Miami now, so another race in America and on that timezone. You never know if we’re going to add more in future.”
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