Reading a recent article over at Autosport today, I was encouraged that new F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali still has a focus on increasing the presence of F1 in the US. With a race in Austin and a misfire in initial discussions regarding a race in Miami, F1 seems to still be pressing for a second race in the States.
It would appear that Miami is still the main target as it is the most recent and mature discussion with regards to investors and logistics but it did hit a snag with the locals.
“Miami is more advanced in terms of discussion, but there are others in other areas of the American country,” said Domenicali. “But they are not at the level where I can say, ‘yes, they are there’ and I can anticipate something happening.
“I think that in the next couple of months we will decide what there will be in terms of possible discussion with regard to that country, and eventual rotation or stabilizing with two [grands prix] that are fixed. So it’s a work in progress.”
The interesting thing that caught my eye in the Autosport article was a quote about retaining a consistent presence in the US via media and doing more than just making a noise a week or two ahead of a race in Austin.
“I can guarantee you there is now big interest in the USA with Formula 1,” he said.
“What we don’t have to do, in terms of a mistake, is that the US needs to be fed with F1 news every day.
“It’s wrong to go there one week, and let’s say you have an incredible push one week before the Austin race and then being silent.
“What we have is a plan of communication that is quite strong in the US. We need to hammer information with the right channels in a continuous way.
“It will take a lot of start-up time in terms of investment, but the payoff will be huge. So this is part of our strategic global communication campaign that we need to push this year.”
Now, I understand what he is saying here and he is right but the cheeky part of me wants to remind Stefano that we have never stopped talking about F1 here in the US for 52 weeks every year on every Monday for well over 800 weeks or 15 years in other words. When F1 shuts down, we keep going. When F1 leaves America, we keep talking about it. We’ve been doing that for a very long time. I have the receipts to prove it.
Now, cheeky part aside, what Stefano is talking about is major media and content production focused on the American market and I think that’s great. Apart from the Netflix show, where do you start and what are the details behind that. Simple marketing activations aren’t going to work.
How would you like to see F1 retain a year-long presence in the US and by what means? Could an eSports series all around the US be a way of keeping it front-of-mind and appeal to a younger audience to create new lifelong fans? Would a joint development agreement between F1 and a major broadcast partner in the US work? Creating content as immersive and deep as Sky Sports F1?
I think there are many ways to do this but as I have always said, you have to bring America to F1, not the other way around. Would love to hear your ideas so leave them in the comment section below.