Forumla 1: An American's Perspective

Ken ArmerSenior Writer IOctober 11, 2011

SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 09:  Jaime Alguersuari of Spain and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 9, 2011 in Suzuka, Japan.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Racing is part of the American heritage, just look in an American history book and you will see the influence bootleggers and rum runners had on the overthrow of the temperance movement. This in turn led to the creation of stock car racing. Or there is the era of American muscle, which by all accounts isn’t dead, and is nowadays deeply rooted into the American idea of auto racing.

Yet the fastest, most aggressive, and in many cases, most interesting racing doesn’t happen on our shores, or even with our automakers. Formula 1 is all but ignored in the United States. It might get a brief segment on the Speed Channel, but the average American car nut couldn’t care less about F1.

For arguments sake, I need to point out a cyclical problem. No races in the United States make it hard for Americans to get into it as a fan base. But, with no steady fan base, who would want to attempt hosting a race.

It’s like soccer, entertaining as hell, but alien to the American psyche.

Americans should instead, get out of their comfort zone and watch a Formula 1 race; not instead of your Nascar race, but during a replay of a race or when able. Give the 200mph adrenaline rush of horsepower and aerodynamics a chance.

Sure, you might be stoned to death in the deep South for flying a Ferrari flag in place of your Dale Earnhardt number three, but maybe if the sport caught on in the United States, you could witness your American built Chevy, Ford and Dodge taking on the big boys like Lotus, Ferrari and McLaren. Now that would be a sight for American eyes to see.

If Americans would give F1 a real fighting chance for their viewership and fan following, maybe we would find that, as a culture, it agrees with our American taste. Isn’t horsepower and speed what were about? Isn’t that what Formula 1 is about?

I’m not saying you give up pancakes for breakfast in place of a crepe or two; don’t go full Euro. Instead, like your mother taught you, try it and you just might like it.

I’m an American. I like Nascar and Dale Earnhardt, and I tried F1 and I like it; maybe you will too. It is possible that we could see each other November 18, 2012 in Austin, Texas for the United States Grand Prix.


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