I have followed Formula 1 for a long time now. I follow it quite closely to be honest and while that could be contextually arguable, let’s just say I follow it pretty darned close. As such, I read a lot of international press and British press reports discussing the series. I notice the cultural differences in the words and stories I read which is no big deal but interesting nonetheless. I found the USA Today article announcing the continuation of the USGP an interesting article as well.
No surprise then that the USA Today story revealing that the US Grand Prix will go ahead in 2016 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas has a nuance of relatively benign facts until you get to the point where they news outlets was a bit miffed at not having their calls returned by Bobby Epstein, circuit president.
Then there is the narrative portion of the story which, in all fairness, has a decidedly American panache to it. The implication is that losing the USGP in Austin would be a big blow to Formula 1 as their attempts to break into the US market. Yeah, not so much. F1 existed before America and will do so after even if the race, this year or any other, is removed from the calendar.
“Losing the race would have been a blow to Formula One’s efforts to expand in the American market.”
No circuit has a divine right to be on F1’s calendar and while you would think that isn’t the case for the legacy tracks like Monza, it is making headlines as the next classic circuit to disappear from the 21-race calendar. You see, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has never lost too much sleep over not having a USGP and while I think he’d like to have two or three here, he has always drove a hard bargain for sanctioning fees for any would-be promoter.
Does he want a USGP? Absolutely. Will F1 take a big blow if it vaporizes from the race calendar? Not as much as USA Today apparently feels it will. The US market is huge and often cited as the one market F1 teams and sponsors would like to get a foothold in but F1’s model has never made concessions for an American market. Not even the UK gets too much slack when trying to secure its own race as the spiritual home of F1. What makes us think the US would?
It’s a very American vibe to suggest that F1 should be paying us to host their silly race over here but as of now, that is simply not the case and I can’t see that changing any time soon.
What few get and many need to know is that in order to work in the US, we have to take America to F1, not the other way around. It may never gain purchase here because unlike NASCAR and home-grown motorsport, F1 simply doesn’t feel the need to really go after the US market hammer and tongs. Fair enough. I would argue that if they did, it could be a huge gain for the entire business model of F1 but that’s an argument for another day.
Hat Tip: USA Today