The Las Vegas Grand Prix will join the F1 calendar in 2023, making it the first time since 1982 that there have been three US races in a season. F1 took the unusual step of announcing the new Grand Prix at a special live event in Las Vegas, underlining the importance to them of a new American F1 race.
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“This is an incredible moment for Formula 1 that demonstrates the huge appeal and growth of our sport with a third race in the US”, asserted F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali.
The deal capitalizes on newfound popularity in the States – a region where F1 has struggled to find a foothold in the past. American TV viewing figures of F1 were up 54% in 2021 and ESPN revealed that this year’s season opener in Bahrain saw the biggest audience since 1995.
Google Trends data meanwhile shows a marked increase in searches for ‘Formula 1’ in the US. The F1 Spectator has also seen more US interest with 28% of you based in the States in 2021, compared to just 18-19% in 2019 and 2020.
Live attendance is also up with COTA last year seeing record crowds for an F1 race with 400,000 fans in attendance over the 3 days. Miami’s first Grand Prix meanwhile sold out in minutes.
One of the most exciting F1 seasons in decades in 2021 certainly helped, but F1’s growth is largely down to a concerted effort by owners Liberty Media. A rebranding of the sport and increased focus on social media have all contributed to the sport’s popularity.
However, most credited with the sport’s rise in the US is the popularity of the Netflix series, Formula 1: Drive To Survive. The series was the brainchild of F1’s former Managing Director of Commercial Operations, Sean Bratches. It highlights the human element of F1 and has captivated audiences and introduced a new generation of fans to F1.
The biggest obstacle to F1’s popularity in America though has been the start times of Grand Prix. The largely European series meant early Sunday morning starts for American F1 fans.
The addition of the Mexico Grand Prix in 2015 saw another US timezone-friendly race. But for Liberty, having three races on US soil has long been the goal. The announcement of the Las Vegas GP weeks before the first Miami GP will be seen as the crowning glory in F1 breaking the lucrative American market.
Miami holds the first of ten contracted Grand Prix this May, while COTA’s contract was recently extended to 2026. With Vegas contracted for three years, American spectators will have a trio of F1 venues to go to in the country for at least the next three seasons. In all likelihood though, there will be multiple Grand Prix in America for longer than that, as well as easily accessible races in Montreal and Mexico.
I’m Danny, an incurable Formula 1 fan for over 30 years and founder of The F1 Spectator. My aim is to inform and inspire, arming you with helpful tips and advice for your next F1 trip.