Formula 1 is experiencing a significant growth in popularity in the United States, attributed to various factors such as the expansion of the US Grands Prix to include a race in Miami and, most recently, a third race in Las Vegas. Additionally, the Netflix series Drive to Survive has played a significant role by introducing Americans to the sport and generating interest among casual fans. Race-day ticket sales have also increased, with last year’s US GP boasting over 400,000 attendees and one million viewers on TV. However, the series still faces challenges in establishing itself as a major player in a market dominated by the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR.
Drive to Survive has had a significant impact on American perception of Formula 1 by taking viewers behind the scenes of F1 racing. F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali describes the series as a “game-changer,” introducing many Americans and generating new interest among casual fans. The series has also helped redefine what matters in the championship for American F1 fans. Brands have taken notice of this popularity, with 97 US-based sponsors in 2023, up from 105 last year.
While Drive to Survive is a significant factor, some experts believe that the expansion of US Grands Prix has been more important. Mario Andretti predicted in 2012 that Circuit of the Americas was what American fans needed to buy into F1, and the expansion to include a second race in Miami and a third in Las Vegas is promising. The diversity of entertainment in Las Vegas is unparalleled, making the Las Vegas Grand Prix poised to take American fandom to the next level.
Historically, American drivers have been few and far between in F1, with the last American driver competing in 2015. However, in 2023, Logan Sargeant will be driving for Williams, marking a significant presence for Americans to support.
Despite these positive developments, F1 still faces challenges in establishing itself in a highly competitive American sports market. F1 must work to differentiate itself, highlight its technological and engineering innovations, and increase the presence of American drivers and teams. However, the Las Vegas Grand Prix offers a unique opportunity for F1 to differentiate itself and offer an event like no other.