Circuit of the Americas founder and chairman Bobby Epstein says he is in favour of a second race to be held in the United States if it helps increase Formula 1's impact on the American market.
The Austin circuit is preparing to host its fourth edition of the United States Grand Prix this weekend, its debut on the calendar in 2012 making it the latest in a long line of venues to offer F1 to the American audience.
Though F1's ability to resonate with fans in the United States has varied in success over the years, the Texan race has nonetheless proven popular with drivers, while the venue has established itself as a firm fixture for MotoGP and the World Endurance Championship too.
Indeed, though there were fears that the return of Mexico to the schedule would harm COTA ticket sales, Epstein feels there are benefits to be gleaned from more North and South American events, not least because of the more locally favourable time zones.
“The real strength to it is if we can get more races in our time zone and Mexico – along with Montreal and Brazil - definitely count as one of those. The more we get that can be broadcast live to a US audience, the more chance we have of engaging more fans because no one likes to wake up in the morning and already know the result of a sporting event and then think that they're going to sit there and watch it. I think that's the advantage that other race formats have over F1 in the US, simply the ability to build viewership through real time races, live races.
With this in mind, Epstein says he is not against the idea of a second F1 event on the schedule if it acts as a complement to his round. Indeed, Bernie Ecclestone is known to be keen for a second race, but plans for a much discussed New Jersey race have so far failed to get off the ground.
“If F1 has Mexico and if they add New York or Florida or California, I think there's the population in North America certainly with half a billion people, you can certainly draw and sustain more than one race. I think the more we have, the more that's broadcasting in real time, that'll be a greater chance the sport has of getting stronger.”