Liberty Media CEO and president Greg Maffei believes the addition of the race in Las Vegas will increase the chances of an American driver reaching Formula 1 in the near future.
Michael Andretti’s attempts to enter F1 have been widely covered over the past 12 months but that plan has yet to come to fruition, with Andretti already stating he would run Colton Herta as one of his drivers. Herta has now signed a testing deal with McLaren but F1 still hasn’t seen an American start a grand prix since 2015, something Maffei is sure will soon change given the U.S. investment in the sport.
“We have an American team — we have Haas,” Maffei said. “And I think having an event like this in Las Vegas, all the other things that we’re doing in the U.S., is only going to make it more likely we soon have an American driver.”
Maffei is also confident that the U.S. market will not be diluted by having three races in the country, despite Vegas being confirmed before the second in Miami has even been held for the first time
“One of the things that’s unique about Formula 1 — or certainly special — is the global nature. The audience that shows up in Miami will be a global audience. The audience that shows up in Austin already is a global audience. I’m absolutely positive that the audience that shows up in Las Vegas will be a global audience, it’s not just going to be the U.S. audience.”
The Liberty Media CEO says his conviction in how successful the sport can be with multiple races in America is one of the reasons why Liberty is taking on a promoter role alongside F1 for the Las Vegas race.
“When we bought the company a little over five years ago, we saw an opportunity, we saw the potential, and we saw that there was a role to do more than just showing up and letting our local partner do it,” he noted. “We could have a larger role and do things as we are in conjunction with a lot of partners, but also with LiveNation, that Liberty and Formula 1 would have a bigger role than just being the global sport that we are. That’s the opportunity that we see and particularly the opportunity here in Vegas.”