FOTA chairman and McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has said F1 should consider having two races in America.
F1 will return to the USA in 2012 when the sport goes to the Circuit of The Americas track in Texas, but while Whitmarsh is hopeful it will be a 'very successful race', he does have some reservations.
Indeed the event at Austin is in the United States' central south and Whitmarsh reckons it would have been a lot wiser to go for two races and then have one on the east coast and one on the west.
“We're going to the USA [in 2012], but we've really got to go to the USA this time. That's to say going there, having a race and then going home isn't good enough. That's what we've done in the States before and it didn't work. America doesn't need us, but we need to conquer it," Whitmarsh said during the latest FOTA Fans' Forum event, this time held at McLaren's Woking base.
“Maybe we need to have two races a year [in the USA] and a proper marketing programme,” he continued.
“We've got to create the interest. F1 hasn't had to sell itself in the past; the fans have come to us. But there's lots of competition in the entertainment business now.
“We've got to be on the east coast and the west coast. It's a big enough market and an important enough market to have two races and we should be over there. I have nothing against Texas and I hope it's a very successful race, but the natural hinterland for us is the east coast and the west coast.
“Long Beach and around New York: those are the places where we're going to create interest in F1.”
Bob Fernley, deputy team principal for the Force India F1 team, meanwhile concurred with that view, although he also added that the sport could do with a race in Africa too.
“Unfortunately, I'm old enough to remember racing in Long Beach and I think Martin is absolutely correct. The west coast and the east coast are the natural homes for F1 in America,” he continued.
“The only major continent that we're not working on is Africa and I'd like to see us go back there.”