Op-Ed: How Porsche’s return could help the USGP

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While I won’t get too worked up over the news that Porsche/Audi might take a serious look at joining Formula 1, I know one group of people who should: the USGP organizers.

Now, first, I have to ask that if you’re a long-time F1 fan, and especially one in Great Britain and Europe, please, please remain calm. The things I’m about to write reflect badly on average U.S. motor sports fans. Y’all are the standard to which we need to compare ourselves.

OK. Here goes:

The Williams F1 team doesn’t mean much in the U.S. Neither, I hate to break it to you, does the name McLaren. Red Bull is still a drink and not a “racing” team. Force India? Forget about it. Sauber? Maybe less than nothing. Lotus? If you are knowledgeable enough, you know Lotus — maybe.

The point: None of those names in big letters on the side of the Austin grand prix track are going to pull people away from the University of Texas football game.

But Ferrari might. And Mercedes? Everyone knows Mercedes.

And everyone knows Porsche, and knows it is makes sports cars. You know that even if it is just because you rode in one one time and still remember how it made your fillings rattle.

A Ferrari-Mercedes-Porsche battle would be one that the USGP could sell to the masses. (Heck, members of the [fill in the blank brand] Clubs from all over Texas could help fill the grandstands.) A Lewis Hamilton-Fernando Alonso-Sebastian Vettel fight? Not so much.

In other words, while we fans can argue the pros and cons of having manufacturers in F1, the folks who want the USGP to succeed can’t. They need these known brands to be on the track so the mildly interested become the fairly curious. And then maybe become regular viewers and repeat attendees.

Having Porsche on the grid — if not the first year, then in year two or three — would be just the ticket. It might not be great for F1, but it would be great for the USGP.

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