There are enough fans for two F1 races in America according to...

There are enough fans for two F1 races in America according to Steiner

Romain Grosjean
photo: Haas

America loves its sports, and autumn brings a cornucopia of action that stretches coast to coast, across purple mountain majesties and amber waves of grain, all taking place under spacious skies. As college football rivalries play out on Saturdays to whet fans’ appetites for NFL action on Sundays, amid the MLB playoffs and the start of the NBA and NHL seasons, motorsports remains very much in the mix. Car culture has been, and continues to be, woven into the fabric of America. And when the most sophisticated and technologically advanced racing series in the world arrives on U.S. soil, people take notice.

Approximately 260,000 fans will descend upon Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas for the Oct. 19-21 United States Grand Prix. That’s more than three times the amount of people AT&T Stadium holds for patrons of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. It’ll be the seventh time the track has hosted the FIA Formula One World Championship, but only the third time fans have been able to cheer for the home team.

Haas F1 Team is the only American team competing in Formula One. Having debuted in 2016, the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based outfit has steadily improved each season, scoring 29 points in its inaugural 2016 campaign and 47 points last year. With four races still remaining on this year’s 21-race calendar, Haas F1 Team has tallied 84 points and is fifth in the constructors’ standings with an eye set on overtaking fourth-place Renault.

The French manufacturer is just eight points ahead of Haas F1 Team, and despite France being America’s first ally, there is no such Treaty of Alliance between Haas F1 Team and Renault.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner previews the team’s home Grand prix.

Gene Haas, Guenther SteinerHow important is the United States Grand Prix to Haas F1 Team and to Formula One’s recognition in America?

“I think it’s very important for Formula One to have a race in the United States. For a long time, until COTA came on the scene, there wasn’t one. I think the fan base is growing. It’s important for Formula One, but also for us because it’s our home grand prix. We’re all looking forward to it.”

Would you like to see another Formula One race in America?

“It would be fantastic to have a second Formula One race in America. I think we will get there. It takes a little bit of time, but it will happen.”

Would another Formula One race in America accentuate or take away from COTA’s presence in Formula One?

“I think it would accentuate it. There are enough fans, we could get attention for two races. I think it would add to the presence of Formula One in the United States and not take anything away from COTA.”

Austin has become a destination venue for the Formula One industry, much like Singapore and Monaco. Why does the city resonate so well with those in Formula One?

“It’s a fantastic city. There are always a lot of things going on in Austin. It’s a young city and just a cool place. The weather’s usually pretty nice. It’s just one of those cities that everyone likes.”