McLaren is using its IndyCar project to give more exposure to the team’s partners in the United States than Formula 1 currently offers.
At present there is only one grand prix in the US; the race in Austin taking place as part of a back-to-back with Mexico. The Canadian Grand Prix held in June raises the current tally of North American rounds to three, but F1 is working hard to add a second U.S. venue, with a street race in Miami yet to be finalized.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said that the difficulties associated with delivering another grand prix in America is one of the reasons why the team is returning to compete in the Indy 500 this year.
“I think North America remains a key growth market for Formula 1, the biggest sporting market in the world, and I think Formula 1 has lots of room for growth,” Brown said. “I am not surprised it is taking some time to develop a second race there. We know Formula 1’s various business models needs addressing, and one of those is that it is very hard to be a promoter and make money if you are not government subsidized.
“I think they have a new television partner and I know that had some struggles on its debut, but it looks like they have addressed those issues and it is a good television partner. You’ve got the festivals that they did in Miami, and if you look at their plans for , it looks like they are going to have one or two in America and other big markets.
“I think they are spending a tremendous amount of time trying to get a second race there, and so it is making progress, but it’s going to take some time.
“That is one of the reasons why we are competing in the Indy 500, because we think Indianapolis and the IndyCar series… for seven out of 10 sponsors, America is an important market. Formula 1 right now can’t quite ring that bell as loudly as a lot of partners would like, so we feel IndyCar racing for a variety of reasons, but that being one of them, helps round out a global proposition for our partners.”