Thursday, 15 January 2015

Special Feature - F1 in America

(Alastair Staley for the Lotus F1 Team)

Formula One has had a love hate relationship with America. The sport has competed at circuits such as Long Beach, Caesars Palace, Detroit; Indianapolis Motor Speedway and since 2012, the Ciruit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas. 

The United States is a massive market for Formula One and the Circuit of the Americas has become one of the best Formula One venues on the Grand Prix calendar.

The officials at the Circuit of the Americas have done an absolutely fantastic job. Former Formula One world champion Mario Andretti has been an ambassador for the circuit since its inception onto the Formula One calendar.

The Circuit Of The Americas is the first venue in the United States to host a Grand Prix since Indianapolis last hosted a Grand Prix in 2007. Indianapolis made its Formula One debut in the year 2000, and in the eight seasons at the venue, Ferrari scored the most number of race wins at the Brickyard with six Grand Prix victories.

In the three seasons since the Circuit of The Americas made its debut Mercedes powered teams have taken two of the three Grand Prix victories with Lewis Hamilton winning for McLaren in 2012 and again last season driving for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. 

The United States is a massive market for Mercedes Benz and to have won two of the last three races in Austin.

The United had been due to get a second race in New Jersey in 2013 but was put back to last season, however that race never happened.

It had been hoped that the race would happen this season but that is not the case as the only new venue on the Formula One calendar this season is the Mexican Grand Prix which will take place in Mexico City.

Formula One Supremo Bernie Ecclestone is hopeful of bring a Formula One race to Las Vegas. The sport is set to get even more popular in 2016 when Gene Haas brings his brand new Haas F1 Team to the grid. The American businessman who runs a successful NASCAR operation in Charlotte, North Carolina has staff already in place at his teams European HQ in Banbury, Oxfordshire in the UK where the Marussia F1 Team was based.

The Haas F1 Team will be powered by Ferrari after striking up a technical partnership with the Italian company.

In 2005, Formula One shot itself in the foot in the United States after only six cars took part in the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after the Michelin supplied teams pulled out of the race on safety grounds.

The race in Austin has more than made up for what happened in Indianapolis. The race at the Circuit Of The Americas has become a week-long festival in Down Town Austin.

© Ben Johnston 2015

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