Lewis Hamilton explains core reason behind F1’s growth in the USA

F1 has achieved enormous growth in the USA over the last few years

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Lewis Hamilton believes Formula 1’s continued engagement with America has been a reason behind the sport’s growth in the country.

For the first time since 1982, the United States will host three Grand Prix, including the return of Las Vegas to the calendar for the first time in 41 years, joining the existing Miami and United States GPs.

Las Vegas’ return comes as F1 enjoys a rich vein of popularity in America, boosted by the hit Netflix show Drive to Survive.

“I think it’s continuing to engage with the outside world and really creating more accessibility,” Hamilton explained to the press. “Before I came to the States, [I was] repeating myself educating.

“I couldn’t fully understand when I went to NFL games, NBA games, seeing how passionate the Americans are about sport [but] how they hadn’t yet caught the bug many of us [caught] when we were younger. 

“So it’s been really amazing to see that a large portion of the country is speaking about it, there are people on simulators, and everyone wants to be a driver. It’s been great to see.

“We have to continue to look at what is next. I think having the three races out here. Such a huge nation is massively helpful.”

Lewis Hamilton ahead of 2023 United States Grand Prix | Mercedes F1 Team / Jiri Krenek

Concern over drop in engagement in the US

However, despite having three races on the calendar, American viewership of the 2023 season, dominated by Red Bull and Max Verstappen, has slightly declined.

Viewership of ABC’s coverage of the 2023 Miami GP dropped by 25% compared to 2022, with the sport’s worldwide social media engagement falling by 70% in the first five months of 2023 compared to 2022.

“I think you’ve seen the social engagement drop a huge amount this year,” explained Hamilton. “Being that it’s obviously heavily impacted on competition.

“People want to see the governing body making the right decisions, to keep us close and going racing right to the end.

“We’re working also on impact, not just a circus that arrives and leaves a mess behind. But looking at how we can really leave a legacy behind in each of these places that we go to.”

Fan of ‘modern classic’ COTA

F1’s final triple header of races begins at the Circuit of the Americas [COTA] at a track that has become a favourite with drivers and fans since its first GP in 2012.

COTA has previously been a happy hunting ground for Hamilton, winning the circuit’s inaugural US GP and wrapping up the world championship at the venue in 2015 and 2019.

“This is one of my favourite tracks,” admitted Hamilton. “Often, when they build new circuits, they’re not really like the classics. But this is a classic from the get-go, and it’s one that enables us to have great races. 

“When you go up to turn one, you see that huge crowd. It’s really quite amazing. So it’ll be interesting to see.”

Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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