Formula One MOTORSPORT Opinion

OPINION: Why having a second Formula One race in America is important for the sport

Formula One has always been a mainstay in the United States, but despite some hiatuses, the sport has always had some sort of impact within a country whose main sporting attractions consist of Basketball, American Football and Baseball.

But, with the announcement prior to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that Miami would be hosting a Grand Prix for ten years from 2022, it begged the question, why does the US need another Formula One race? And the answer is pretty simple, it is an untapped market.

The viewing figures for the 2020 F1 season in the US were around an average of 607,000 per race, which for a country with a population of 330+ million is minuscule compared to the average viewers in the UK.

Their figures were at 1.25 million viewers per race, over double the amount of the US with a population the sixth of the size. Considering IndyCar, the US’ premier single seater series averaged around 1.285 million viewers a race in 2020, it says a lot about the popularity Formula One has over the pond, but this is something Liberty Media, President and CEO of F1 Stefano Domenicali and the ten teams will have to work out.

Miami is the 11th circuit to host a race in America, and will join the calendar which already features the Circuit of the Americas in Texas as Liberty Media try to increase the popularity of the ‘pinnacle of motorsport’ in the country.

The location of the circuit itself, which was designed by design guru Hermann Tilke, will be situated around the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins.

This in itself is already an advantage, as certain infrastructures, such as fan zones and accessibility routes already exist, but along with this, a programme to support local businesses and the community will be brought in to ensure that the wider society get the full benefits of the race being in Miami Gardens, including an F1 in Schools STEM education programme as well as opportunities for local businesses to be part of the race weekend.

Formula One’s popularity in the US did take a beating after the farcical Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2005, when only six drivers could participate, but since the return to the nation at Texas in 2012, the sport has slowly but surely clawed the levels of acclaim it once had and this new race will only raise that acclaim even more.

The foundations are set and after many attempts to stage a second Grand Prix in the country, this looks to be finally the chance taken after many false hopes across the last decade, with New Jersey and Miami having unsuccessful attempts to get that second race off the ground.

Whether this race will be a success is for another time, but with the new regulations coming next year and a plethora of young talent and experienced Champions on the grid, Formula One in the United States is set to make a big step for the better.

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