Unequivocally the answer to that question for me is yes. Formula 1 has been a nomad in the United States since the final race at Watkins Glen in 1980, in total there has been 10 different venues for Formula 1 races in America.
We are consistently told of the importance of American market to the car makers involved in F1 and with a population of over 312,000,000 you can see the importance of this market. It is this vastness that is the problem for an international sport like F1. A country the size of the United States, that spans across 5 time zones is very insular when it comes to sport. Home grown sports like Baseball and American Football dominate the TV ratings, with the teams seldom playing outside of North America.
Their motorsports are no different. As long as F1 has been running America has had Indycar, their own open wheeled racing series with only a hand full of races taking place outside of its borders. The jewel in its crown is the Indy 500, one of the most prestigious races in motorsport.
Bernie Ecclestone commented this week that F1 will never be a huge success in America despite having two races on the calendar from 2013. With F1 dipping into a country the size of Europe for two weekends a year, it’s difficult to keep awareness up throughout all of the 52 states.
I asked Peter Windsor, a well respected journalist , who has worked in F1 for many years whether F1 can be a success in America on Twitter earlier, he said “I think F1 can be huge in the USA – but only if it is properly promoted and marketed as a brand by the F1 industry as a whole.” If it is the manufactures that are looking for greater exposure stateside, I think they would be better off looking at Indycar.
As I have said before, hosting a F1 race is a privilege, not a right. I know that there is support for F1 in America. Through twitter I have spoken to many fanatical fans who have been starved of a home race since 2007. America should have a race on the calendar but with F1’s future moving ever faster eastwards, how long can it keep hold of two races?