Formula One and the United States: A Love-Hate Relationship

The 2023 Formula One season will see the United States of America host three Grand Prix, more than any other country on the planet. It’s an incredible turn of events, especially considering the fact that just 12 years ago, the US didn’t even host one race, and they didn’t even care to either. With that being said, it is safe to say that both the country and sport have endured a chequered past over the last two decades.

F1 is the most popular motorsport on the planet, but when it comes to the US, it has often been overshadowed by the likes of NASCAR and IndyCar. While there have been peaks and troughs when it comes to the interest of the average American in Formula One, there can be no denying that in 2023, the sport is most certainly riding the crest of a wave.

The current Formula One campaign is well and truly underway, and Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team have picked up where they left off last term. Last year, the Flying Dutchman became a double world champion in a record-breaking year. Following two wins in the first three races this season, online F1 odds make Super Max an overwhelming -800 favorite to make it three consecutive world crowns this year.

But as Formula One has never been more popular stateside, we thought that now would be the perfect time to look back over the pair’s rollercoaster-like relationship over the years. Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

The Infamous 2005 United States Grand Prix

The relationship between the United States and the sport of Formula One began to sour in 2005 following that year’s US Grand Prix. The race was hosted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and will go down in history as one of the most infamous races of all time. During the formation lap prior to the race getting underway, fourteen of the twenty cars set to compete ensured that the fans in attendance wouldn’t be treated too much of a spectacle.

They retired from the race without completing a single racing lap due to safety concerns relating to the Michelin tires provided for the weekend. Following several tire failures prior to the race, Michelin informed its seven customer teams that the race tires would only be dependable for 10 laps without a decrease in speed at Turn 13. The race was eventually won by Ferrari however, he only had to race against his teammate and four other back marker cars, and the packed grandstands voiced their displeasure.

2012 Return

After the 2005 debacle, Formula One’s relationship with the United States endured a few more bumps before the circuit in Indianapolis decided that they no longer wish to host races in 2008. The sport made its return stateside in 2012 at a new venue, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Since its debut, the new circuit has been an instant hit with drivers and fans alike thanks to a perfect mix of challenging corners and high-speed straight sections.

The greatest driver of all time, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, has dominated in Texas. He won five of the first six races contested, however, he has been without a win since 2017. Instead, it has been Max Verstappen that has romped to glory in each of the last two seasons in the Lone Star State.

Drive To Survive Sees Formula One Become More Popular Than Ever Before

The Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive has helped bring Formula One back into the mainstream in the United States. The series follows each team and their respective drivers around the world as they battle it out for both the driver’s and constructor’s championships. It has given an insight into the characters and personalities that make up the sport of Formula One and has captivated audiences worldwide, especially in America, a country that is known to love its reality shows.

Such has been the Formula One boom stateside that the sports organizers added a second American race to the calendar in 2022. Last season, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix was contested on the streets of the Floridian city, eventually being won by Max Verstappen following an epic battle with Charles Leclerc. Liberty Media, the owners of F1, then announced that a third race stateside race would be added to the calendar in 2023, with cars racing down the famous Las Vegas strip to contest the first-ever Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Despite the occasional bumps Formula One and the United States have endured throughout the years, the sport’s popularity continues to grow, as displayed by the fact that the ongoing campaign will feature three races taking place in the United States. Now, it is fans from other countries, particularly those in Europe, who are voicing their displeasure. Iconic Grand Prix such as the one held in Germany has been dropped to free up further slots for more races to take place in the US in years to come.