Saturday, June 3, 2023

How was Formula 1 revived in the United States? “Netflix Changed Things”

A decade after their disappearance in the country, they have three races on the calendar, compete with NASCAR in spectators and are a ‘cool’ event. The last frontier is to get a Yankee Champion: There’s only one Pilot Sgt on the grid at the moment.

“It’s funny that Formula 1 has become popular in the United States now. In fact, it’s become a good thing, there are people following the race that they didn’t even know existed until now. If my wife She’s also stuck in. The other day she said to me: ‘Hey, what you did in the World Cup was great.’ And I thought: ‘Finally they realized it’ ».

The story of American Scott Speed, Toro Rosso driver in 2006 and 2007, perfectly illustrates the development of Formula 1 in his country in recent years. The purely European competition that didn’t even set foot on North American soil between 2008 and 2011 has now become an event that competes for viewership on ESPN with NASCAR, which has more than 100 Yankees as sponsors. Has attracted companies and made three spots in the world. Cup calendar: This Sunday it moves to the urban circuit in Miami (9:30 p.m., DAZN), in October it travels to Austin and in November to the new urban circuit in Las Vegas. There’s an obvious reason for the growth: In late 2016, Liberty Media, an American media company, bought Formula 1 for $4.4 billion. But there are other reasons.

“The Netflix documentary Drive to Survive changed things. With that part of the drama, the public got to know the pilots and here the popularity of the sport grew enormously,” analyzes Speed ​​and he is right. There are thousands of sports documentaries scattered across all platforms today, but Drive to Survive, released in March 2019, shortly before the pandemic, was a unique success. It had millions of viewers worldwide, but it was mainly a big hit in the United States, the most important market for Netflix, where it has 74 million subscriptions.

Miami F1 Circuit

According to a study published in early 2022 by the Morning Racing consulting firm, “nearly half of Americans who identify themselves as Formula 1 fans admit they started following the World Cup in the past five years”. And “nearly three out of four Formula 1 fans in the United States under the age of 45 attribute their interest in the competition to the documentary Drive to Survive.

For this reason, and as an example, Daniel Ricciardo, the legendary protagonist of the first season of Netflix’s Drive to Survive, as well as a pilot in a fall without a steering wheel in this 2023, is famous in the United States. state, with appearances at the last Met Gala – where Anne Hathaway admitted she was a Formula 1 fan – and recent prime time appearances on television shows such as The Daily Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

death after indy 2005

How far back is the 2005 Indianapolis scandal. Due to safety problems caused by the Michelin tyres, only six drivers took part in that test—with Michael Schumacher winning—and amid fans throwing objects onto the track, something broke out between the United States and Formula 1. “We’ll see if we miss the United States,” declared Bernie Ecclestone, then master and owner of Formula 1, even after a dispute with the owners of the Indiana circuit. And left the country soon after the World Cup. Austin was added to the calendar in 2012, but the competition remained residual, a competition of little interest without even having a television to broadcast it.

The arrival of Liberty Media – with a deal with ESPN under its belt – and the Drive to Survive changed everything. Now each Formula 1 race has more than a million spectators and at its own tests, which are held in Austin or Miami, favorably timed and with celebrities in public, they have exceeded two million, i.e. , they have touched their NASCAR numbers .

Fans in Miami watching Alex Albon. Rebecca Blackwell

The next step beyond organizing a fourth race — there are projects near New York, in Long Beach and even in Charlotte, a symbolic setting for NASCAR — to get an American driver to contend for victory or, at least, To bring closer Podium. The Haas team had already been successful in 2014, but being champion is not just about the money. It’s a culture thing. «There is a lot of talent, but a whole context is needed to find the right moment. The fact that Formula 1 is popular here now will help some young people take up the adventure,” says Speed, detailing the problem.

To reach Formula 1, an American driver must go through training programs, which are mainly held in Europe, and/or enter the youth ranks of one of the teams. Today it is difficult for a California kid to leave his path towards NASCAR or Indycar, for example to live in the United Kingdom, and participate in British Formula 4 or European Regional Formula. Logan Sargent, the current Williams driver, the only North American on the grid, is still without points, but more compatriots are needed. If someone appears as the third Yankee champion in history after Phil Hill (1961) and Mario Andretti (1978), the boom will be huge. From nothing, Formula 1 has revived America and now it can grow to infinity.

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World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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