F1 drivers agree with call for more U.S. races

Image by Steve Etherington/LAT

F1 drivers agree with call for more U.S. races

Formula 1

F1 drivers agree with call for more U.S. races

Formula 1 needs more races in the United States to help increase interest in the sport, according to a number of drivers including Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

Liberty Media is keen to increase F1’s presence in the USA, and has been attempting to add another race to the calendar in Miami. With those plans yet to come to fruition, this weekend’s race at Circuit of The Americas remains the only one in America and the current drivers believe that number needs to be added to.

“To me the obvious answer is to get more races in the U.S,” Haas F1’s Romain Grosjean said. “I think most of the time it’s really hard for the audience to watch the grands prix — it’s the middle of the night. It’s not easy to grow the fan base.”

However, Grosjean added that just adding more F1 events stateside wouldn’t necessarily be enough.

“I think (making) races a bit more exciting as well,” he said. “If you look at NASCAR, you never know who’s going to win the race. In Formula 1 I can tell you it’s going to be the Mercedes or Ferrari winning on Sunday. I think that could be improved — but definitely more races in the U.S. to get closer to the fans would be the first thing.”

Grosjean, Hamilton and Alonso meet the media at COTA. (Image by Sam Bloxham/LAT )

Grosjean’s comments were backed up by Hamilton, who feels the regularity of other U.S. sports shows why it’s difficult for F1 to gain traction with just one event.

“We do have the one race and this is a big, big country with a lot of sporting heritage,” Hamilton said. “They love intensely-fought games but also have something to look forward to, because there’s a build-up to multiple games.

“We only have that one race here, so the people, for example in this city or people in the close states that fly over for this one grand prix, which happens once a year, it’s like a festival. You can’t really get too excited about one festival in a season. So, that’s probably something that Liberty will be working on for the future.”

Alonso noted that an American driver on the grid would also be a big boost to the sport’s appeal, along with an increase in the number of teams that are able to win races.

“Try to get more races here, hopefully one American driver into F1 soon, and that will help,” Alonso said. “I think it will bring a little bit of interest into the sport and to have a little bit more unpredictable races is more or less what (Liberty) have (to do) — to have people expecting the unexpected until the end.”

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