7 August 2013
Rossi: 2013 the true test for F1 in USA
Alexander Rossi say the 2013 United States Grand Prix will show if American fans are ready to embrace Formula One
Caterham test driver Alexander Rossi says he feels the 2013 running of the United States Grand Prix will give a strong indication of whether F1 can be a success on American soil.
The sport returned to the USA last year with the inaugural race at the new Circuit of the Americas, which marked the first American race since the final appearance at Indianapolis back in 2007.
While the 2012 running of the race – won by Lewis Hamilton – was deemed to be a success both on and off track, Rossi said it was how fans reacted to the 2013 event that would give a true indication of whether the country is ready to embrace the sport.
“I think Austin, from a venue and from an event, surprised everyone,” he told F1 Fanatic, “from the spectators to the teams and the F1 paddock as well. So I think Austin is kind of a massive relief for everyone involved because it's like OK, 'F1 probably can actually work in America' and I think that was the first step.
“But how the turn-out is this year and how the response is this year I think is kind of the true test, to see if people enjoyed it enough to come back for another year.”
Rossi, currently competing for Caterham's GP2 team, is working towards trying to become the first American driver in F1 since Scott Speed.
While he admitted that it would be beneficial to the sport on US soil if there was a home driver to cheer on, Rossi also conceded however that the sheer size of the country meant F1 had to be realistic about what it can achieve in terms of an audience.
“I think that it will struggle until there's an American driver just because American people are so patriotic, they're not going to come out or they're not going to spend a year watching or cheering for a German, British or Spanish driver it's not how it's going to work,” he said. “I think if there's an American driver that's the first step, but even then I don't think it'll captivate the audience, and an American driver has to be successful.
“I think that the motor sports fans, the petrolheads, have appreciation for Formula One and the fact it is the highest form of racing, the best technology in the world and the best drivers in the world. I think there is an appreciation for that.
“There is a lot of other sports that can draw interest away so I don't think it could ever compete with an NFL or NBA. But I do think it has the opportunity to captivate the majority of the American motor sport enthusiasts. It will do that, it's just a matter of time.”
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