The enthusiasm surrounding the first edition of the Miami Grand Prix confirms that F1 has found a place in the sun on the other side of the Atlantic.
A month after the students, the turn of the F1 drivers to do their spring break. For the first time in the history of the discipline, the paddock will take up residence in Miami, the scene of the highly anticipated fifth round of the season. “It’s gonna be amazing», Promises Lewis Hamilton, summing up the general thought. Translated by the solar state of mind of the 20 pilots of the championship since their arrival at the “Sunshine State“, the enthusiasm of the small world of F1 as soon as it crosses the Atlantic is no longer to be proven.
George Russell present at the edge of the field to follow the Miami Heat, Charles Leclerc and his pursuers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez on the baseball side, Pierre Gasly alongside Michael Jordan… the pilots have set themselves to American time. Like Lando Norris, who bought himself a basketball-shaped helmet for the occasion. An obviously special occasion. “The Miami Grand Prix is on course to be one of the most anticipated additions to the F1 calendar in history“Summarizes Will Buxton, the voice of F1 on the promoter’s platform, all the more famous for being the narrator of “Drive to Surviveon Netflix.
Record attendance in Texas
A series extended for two years, as announced by the promoter and the streaming giant on Thursday. The opportunity was too good, as the enthusiasm with the American public, long monopolized by Nascar or IndyCar, was increased tenfold by the hit series. “With the pandemic and thanks to Netflix, Formula 1 is booming in the United Statesrejoices Lewis Hamilton, passing through the morning Good Morning America. I expect the atmosphere to be exceptional, like in Austin, where it’s always an incredible race.»
In Texas, nearly 400,000 spectators gathered for a weekend at the Circuit of the Americas in October 2021, then a record attendance (before the Australian GP in April). Also last year, the average audience for F1 was close to one million viewers, up sharply compared to previous years. “It’s amazing to realize what we’ve achieved, there’s a growing love in the United Statesnotes the seven-time world champion, who remembers a “gap between the United States and the rest of the world in terms of passion” at the beginning of his career.
15 years later, the United States has returned to the calendar (2012, Austin) and will even have a third race on the calendar next year with the return of the Las Vegas strip. So many events that will delight an ever-growing audience for the discipline, despite the inevitable time differences (9:30 p.m. in France for the Miami GP on Sunday). An audience long concentrated in Europe, where the heart of the discipline has been concentrated for years.
European circuits under threat
“F1 leaving Europe, it started a long time ago. We had seasons at just seven Grand Prix in Europe and around ten others in the rest of the world. The reputation of Formula 1 today lies outside of Europe», Regrets Jean-Louis Moncet, former F1 commentator for TF1 and Canal+. A Europe whose destinations are increasingly threatened by the regions of the world ready to pay huge sums to welcome the grand barnum of the most prestigious of automobile competitions. Thus, certain historic circuits (Monte-Carlo, Spa-Francorchamps) or strongholds (Germany, France) see their position threatened in the calendar beyond 2023. A future headache to come for teams that are still European.
The ideal to increase the interest of the United States for Formula 1 would be to have an American pilot
Not for long ? If for the moment, only one is American (Haas), the influx of American sponsors (Red Bull took advantage of its visit to Miami to forge a juicy partnership with Hard Rock) suggests an ever more significant involvement of the country of ‘Uncle Sam. The hypothesis of the arrival of a second American team has gained momentum since the public interest of Michael Andretti (13 races between 1992 and 1993). Son of the last American world champion (Mario, in 1978), the boss of Andretti Autosport recalled his ambition on Twitter two weeks ago, responding “Meto the question of who wanted to join the table of stable owners.
Before packing Colton Herta? The youngest winner of an IndyCar race (at 18 years and 11 months), his young protege (22 years old) has since been announced as the future American driver. Almost a necessity to come full circle for Liberty Media, the promoter of F1 since 2017.”
For the United States to increase their interest in Formula 1, the ideal would be to have an American driver», Recognizes Lance Stroll, one of the two Canadian pilots (with Nicholas Latifi). “They still need to have the stuff of heroes. Many American pilots were still relatively average, asks Jean-Louis Moncet, great F1 historian. It’s not like in European nations, where children are immersed in karting when they are small.The growing interest should, however, lead to new vocations.