F1 living the American dream
Published 17/11/2012 | 16:24
Formula One's team principals have all hailed the importance of the American market to the sport.
Supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday he is happy for F1 to be back in the United States, which plays host to tomorrow's race at the £250m (€310m) Circuit of The Americas on the outskirts of Austin.
The 82-year-old also stated he would love there to be two or three races in the US, albeit the flipside is he appreciates the sport and country could "probably last" without one another.
From the perspective of all the teams, they are delighted to be on a marketing stage that for all their sponsors has been described as "crucial" by Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
"To be a true world championship you've got to have a race in America," said Horner.
"And for the first time ever we've got a circuit that's specifically made to bring out the best and showcase Formula One cars.
"In some ways it's surprising for us to see how much interest there is in the US, how much knowledge there is about Formula One, how the city has come alive with Formula One coming into Texas.
"So this is a crucial race for Red Bull. America is Red Bull's biggest market, and certainly for our partners as well.
"Infiniti sell more cars here than anywhere else in the world, and we have partners like AT&T as well.
"From a hospitality and guest point of view, this is our biggest-ever race in our short history."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh believes F1 has to go for the hard sell in America and prove itself a viable sport to have a benefit for their partners.
Whitmarsh said: "The USA is just a huge consumer market. You've only got to walk up and down the paddock and see the names and all the brands that invest in Formula One and allow us to go racing.
"For nearly all of those brands the USA must be in the top three of their markets around the world.
"So it's fundamentally important to the brands that invest and fund Formula One.
"But we've never come here and done a good enough job to create the interest, so we've got to work very, very hard to make sure we sell it in America in a way that we haven't done in the past."
For Ferrari, America is their biggest market, with Stefano Domenicali claiming for F1 to be a success it requires longevity.
Domenicali said: "It's a very important market for our group with the brand of Chrysler and Fiat.
"With a lot of clients and a lot of customers here this weekend, it really is imperative to stay here for a long time, to consider this race as a starting point for something.
"We need to make sure, that with this market and from a sporting point of view, that Formula One is the future."