Formula One has never been the focus of motorsport fans in the United States, with NASCAR and Indycar holding the key to the hearts of many Americans.
However last weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, the attendance record was broken, with an unbelievable 440,000 people coming down to be a part of the biggest race weekend yet.
Formula 1 will also be racing three times next year in the USA, despite COTA being the only circuit on the calendar only last year, with Miami joining this year, and Las Vegas set to come in 2023.
Lewis Hamilton believes that the American audience has tended to prefer NASCAR because F1 was simply too complex to understand for a nation who are not exposed to it often enough, with the simplicity and inclusivity of other sports being more appealing.
“At the end of the day, there’s 20 drivers that are athletes, that are putting their life on the line, weekend in, weekend out.
“And unlike the other sports which are also exciting there’s a lot of players… in terms of athletes, there’s only 20 of us,” Hamilton explained.
“So it’s a very, very small group of us that get to drive these rockets basically around so we’re as close to NASA I guess, as we can be.”
The seven-time world champion has credited the work of shows such as Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ for it’s impact on American audiences, with the show giving a lot of insight to fans who otherwise would be clueless as to what goes on behind closed doors in Formula 1.
“I don’t really know, apart from the Netflix show, which really have people a much more in-depth insight because if you switch on the TV and just start following, it’s very, very hard to understand what is going on,” said the Brit when asked what he thinks is behind the increase in audience.
“Within a few shows, obviously, it really highlighted open doors and then I think once people have seen that, then they’ve gone down a real wormhole of learning more about the technology, that there’s a lot of mathematics in the background, there’s a huge amount of data, it’s the highest technology that’s around, that would help develop… that crosses over into road cars,” he explained.
Since American company Liberty Media took control of the Formula One Group back in 2017, the American following of the sport has continued to rise, and with three races stateside in 2023, the sport has even more potential to grow in the USA.