Formula 1 has long captivated audiences worldwide with its high-speed thrills, state-of-the-art engineering, and dramatic rivalries.
While its roar echoed louder in Europe, the US initially remained more attuned to its own homegrown motorsports, such as NASCAR. However, recent years have seen a significant shift in this dynamic, propelling F1 into the American limelight.
Shift in US Perception
Formula 1 is a big deal worldwide, with 1.55 billion people tuning in during 2022. Still, F1 had a tough time catching on in the U.S. Maybe it’s because the Indy 500 and NASCAR were already big hits here.
The transformation of America’s attitude towards Formula 1 did not happen overnight. But things started changing when an American company, Liberty Media Inc., bought Formula 1 in 2017.
Since Liberty Media took over Formula 1 in 2017, they’ve been pushing hard to make F1 popular in the States. Under CEO Stefano Domenicali, they’ve introduced new races in the US and teamed up with major companies, getting them hooked on F1.
Key Turning Points
📽️ Netflix’s “Drive to Survive” provides an inside look, attracting new fans.
🏎️ US involvement in the sport, especially through the Haas F1 Team.
👕 Rise in F1 branded merchandise, events, and targeted advertising campaigns in the US.
Netflix Series Ignites US F1 Frenzy
“Formula 1: Drive to Survive” on Netflix was a game-changer for motorsports. This show wasn’t just about fast cars and racing; it took you behind the scenes, giving you a sneak peek into the lives, dreams, and challenges of drivers and their teams.
Before this series, many Americans might’ve found Formula 1 a bit complicated. But “Drive to Survive” made it personal. You feel the excitement of a win, the disappointment of a breakdown, and the surprising rivalries between teammates.
The series didn’t just boost TV ratings; merchandise sales increased, and more people started attending the U.S. Grand Prix. Suddenly, everyone was talking about Formula 1, even in a country where NASCAR and IndyCar were the big deals.
Role of Social Media
In today’s digital age, social media has proven to be a formidable ally for F1 in conquering the American market. Formula 1’s digital transformation, marked by its active presence on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, has allowed it to engage with fans in real time.
Viral moments from races, humorous interactions between drivers, and highlights have found their way onto the feeds of millions of Americans.
Additionally, collaborations and interactions between F1 personalities and US celebrities have further bridged the cultural gap, making the sport more relatable to the American masses.
What’s Next for Formula 1 in the US?
The US hosts more Grand Prix races than any other country, but there’s still so much growth potential. Just look at the NBA’s $2.6 billion deal with ESPN – that’s the kind of opportunity the US market offers.
If the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix is as popular as Miami’s, viewership will skyrocket, making F1 even more appealing to potential partners.
One thing that’s held F1 back in the US was not having an American driver since Scott Speed in 2007. But that changed in 2023 with Logan Sargeant joining the Williams. Having an American in the mix can only boost F1’s popularity, and it’s just a matter of time before we see an American driver standing on that podium.