While it might seem F1 doesn’t have a huge presence in the US (yet), it’s history here goes well over 72 years and a lot of circuit and format changes.
It wasn’t always influencers & sunshine at the venues, and as we approach the 2nd race at the new Miami GP, let’s learn more about the memorable racing venues and how Indy 500 and F1 are connected. 🏁
A Storied Past: F1’s American Adventure
Despite fierce competition from homegrown racing giants like IndyCar and NASCAR, the United States Grand Prix has managed to remain a regular fixture on the F1 calendar.
From the early days at the Indianapolis 500 to the upcoming 2023 race in Austin, the American F1 journey has been a wild ride.
The Starting Line: F1 and the Indianapolis 500
The Indy 500, now a staple of the IndyCar calendar, once held a spot on the F1 calendar. From 1950 to 1960, the 500-mile race was the only American round on the F1 schedule. However, due to different regulations, European teams needed to build new cars to participate, making it a rare sight to see them compete in the event.
From Sebring to Riverside: F1’s California Dreamin’
The US Grand Prix briefly moved to Sebring in 1959 and Riverside Raceway in California the following year. Neither venue captured the hearts of F1 fans, but luckily, Watkins Glen would soon provide a more permanent home for the race.
Watkins Glen: A New F1 Home in Upstate New York
Watkins Glen, located in upstate New York, quickly became a fan favorite and remained a fixture for nearly two decades. The US Grand Prix then split into East and West races in the late ’70s and early ’80s, taking F1 to Long Beach, California.
Long Beach: America’s Answer to Monaco
Long Beach’s challenging street circuit became an instant hit, with some comparing it to the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix. The race remained on the calendar for eight years, producing memorable moments like John Watson’s victory from 23rd on the grid in 1983.
Rolling the Dice: F1 in Vegas and Detroit
During the ’80s, the US Grand Prix continued to move around, with races held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and on the streets of Detroit. In 1982, the US became the first country to host three F1 races in one season, and will soon equal that record with the addition of a new Las Vegas race.
Phoenix Rising: The Return of the United States Grand Prix
In 1989, the US Grand Prix returned to its original name as the race moved to Phoenix. Unfortunately, the city center track proved unpopular, and dwindling attendance led to its eventual departure from the calendar.
Back to the Brickyard: F1’s Return to Indianapolis
In 2000, F1 announced it would once again race in Indianapolis(the city, not the race format), this time on a new course incorporating the iconic oval.
The race drew huge crowds and rekindled America’s love for F1, but the controversial 2005 event caused lasting damage to the race’s reputation. 👇🏼
Austin’s Circuit of The Americas: F1 Finds a Home in Texas
In 2012, F1 finally found a stable home at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin. The race has become a fan favorite, with the passionate Texan crowd attending in droves each year, earning the United States Grand Prix a reputation as one of the most entertaining and well-attended races on the F1 calendar.
Economic Impact: COTA and the Lone Star State
The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) contributes an impressive $1 billion annually to the Texas economy through tourism and commerce. The track itself has won over drivers with its blend of high-speed corners and challenging elevation changes.
Record-Breaking Attendance: The 2021 US Grand Prix
After the 2020 race’s cancellation, Austin returned to the calendar in 2021, setting a new record for the largest three-day F1 event with over 400,000 people in attendance.
A Decade of Racing: Celebrating 10 Years in Austin
Austin can proudly claim the title of the only official “United States Grand Prix.” With the addition of Miami and Las Vegas races, the future of F1 in America looks brighter than ever.
The journey of the United States Grand Prix has been nothing short of extraordinary, moving through various venues before finding its home in the heart of Texas.
As we look forward to the 11th race at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, we can’t help but marvel at the rich history of Formula 1 racing in America, which has only grown stronger over the years. So, buckle up, rev your engines, and get ready for another thrilling ride as we continue to celebrate the legacy of F1 in the United States. 🏎️💨🇺🇸