Formula 1's America Problem - Wheel Sports
Formula 1's America Problem

Formula 1’s America Problem

This article was submitted by Wheel Sport’s Contributor Webster Franklin. If you’d like to follow or find out more about Webster, you can find him on Twitter, @TunicaWebster.

The good ole USA has a deep history of causing problems for our friends across the pond in Formula One.  Deeply rooted in Europe and by consensus considered the pinnacle of motor sport, F1 during the Bernie Ecclestone era could never quite capture the imagination of the American motor sport fan and thus, the almighty US dollar.


 Bernie and his team made an admirable run, hosting races in Las Vegas and at the home of American open wheel racing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  No matter your stance, I think we can agree that a parking lot in Vegas and the fiasco of a tire war in Indy just did not resonate with the American public.  Let’s face it, these mistakes coupled with the rising popularity and marketing genius of NASCAR in the 1990’s, F1 really never stood a chance.

Today however, it appears that F1 has finally caught the proverbial cat by the tail causing angst among F1’s billionaire legacy operators.  While the Bernie era opened F1 to the world, Liberty Media has opened the flood gates to the almighty American dollar while simultaneously opening the eyes of the average American sports fan.  Notice the intentional use of sports fan and not just motor sport fan.

Liberty Media has taken the sport to all new heights by giving the American consumer a peak behind the curtain.  The Drive to Survive phenomenon is well documented but it’s both the existing teams and Liberty Media’s willingness to embrace new media that is helping solidify the sport in American culture.  By embracing independent content creators and social media, F1 is succeeding by allowing the consumer and average fan feel as though they are a part of the sport.  America has finally embraced Formula One, let’s hope the current ten teams on the grid will embrace America and not just the American dollar.  

Americans always needs someone or something to cheer for.  Only then will the true impact of the American dollar be felt by all involved, especially F1’s billionaire legacy operators.  It’s time to feed the cat.  If Andretti – Cadillac is not good enough then I’m afraid F1 might continue in circles.  You might say like a cat chasing its tail.