Can Formula 1 Overtake NASCAR in the USA?

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Can Formula 1 Overtake NASCAR in the USA?

In recent months, Formula 1 has made some major strides forward in growing its fan base and revenue in the United States of America. In the spring, the sport hosted its first Miami Grand Prix around the grounds of the Hard Rock Stadium. 

This was followed by the announcement that Miami and the older United States Grand Prix in Texas would be joined by a third addition to the calendar – the Las Vegas Grand Prix. 

Unlike most races, where a local promoter pays Formula 1 for the rights to host the race, the fixture in Nevada will be a joint venture between the sport’s owners, the city, and the local casino operators. 

It’s part of a major program of investment by F1 to really establish itself in the world’s biggest economy and reap the rewards that that would bring. 

But F1 faces stiff competition. Unlike in other countries, where Formula 1 is, by far, the most watched motorsport, US petrol heads already have a lot of high-octane options to choose from. 

One of these is NASCAR, a series that is the quintessential American motorsport. 

So can F1 make it on NASCAR’s home turf?

NASCAR’s Domestic Advantage

NASCAR has a distinct advantage in being a domestic sport with a lot of local legends. While it’s certainly possible (and common) for motorsport fans to support teams and drivers from other nations, these native heroes typically get the most support. 

You only have to look at the current list of drivers that are favourites in the NASCAR betting odds compiled by OddsChecker to see that nearly all of them are from the US. This includes Chase Elliot and Kyle Larson who are the favourites to win the Go Bowling The Glen.

Efforts to get an American team and American drivers into Formula 1 continue to struggle, hindered by the fact that most of the talent, knowledge, and experience needed to succeed in the sport is based in Europe. 

The only F1 team that is technically American right now is Haas. However, it does a lot of its operational work at its facilities in Banbury, England. 

F1 Has Become a Media Powerhouse

In the past, Formula 1 was a sport that shied away from using social media, going so far as to prevent teams and drivers from using it to its fullest extent. 

In more recent years, the exact opposite has happened. Thanks to a new social media strategy and the creation of the hit Netflix series, Drive to Survive, F1 has been able to reach new audiences both in and outside of the United States. 

It has allowed the personalities and rivalries of the drivers and other team personnel to shine through the former clinical feel of the sport. In doing so, it’s made Formula 1 more interesting and exciting.

To further attract new fans, F1 has been partnering with celebrities and influencers, inviting them to Grands Prix as VIPs so that they can share their experience with their followers and fans. 

Early Successes

While Formula 1 certainly still has a long way to go in reaching out to existing motorsport fans and creating entirely new ones, it has been making inroads into the United States. 

Evidence of this can be seen from the fact that TV viewing figures for Formula 1 in the USA are at the highest they’ve been, reversing a long-term trend of decline that had been witnessed in the past. 

The United States Grand Prix and Texas’ Circuit of the Americas has now established itself a firm favourite on the calendar among fans, teams, and drivers. The most recent event in 2021 broke records for the most attendees at an F1 event. 

Therefore, if we extrapolate this to the newer efforts the sport has made, there is a possibility that F1 could overtake NASCAR. Even if it doesn’t, the two could easily co-exist together and even help each other attract more fans. 

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