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F1 must prove itself in America, insists Whitmarsh

9 June 2010

It is up to F1 as a collective entity to prove to America that it is 'a sport and a spectacle that's worth taking an interest in', McLaren-Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh has asserted – and that means making the effort to properly promote itself across the Pond to guarantee the long-term success of the revived US Grand Prix.

The top flight will return to the States for the first time in five years from 2012, after a ten-year deal was agreed to see a race staged in Austin, Texas – and speaking with his Formula One Teams' Association hat on, Whitmarsh urged the sport to make sure that this time, it gets it right.

“I think what is very clear now is that all the teams want to support the development of F1 in North America,” the FOTA chairman reflected in a special Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Phone-In Session, underlining that Austin needs to succeed where the likes of Dallas, Detroit, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Indianapolis have all failed.

“It's exciting to go to Korea or India or other places, but we recognise that a large market is North America. F1 collectively has not made a success of North America. What's important this time is not so much the venue, but when F1 returns to America we've got to be there for a sustained period of time.

“Teams have got to commit to sending cars over there, perhaps by taking them through Times Square or down Sunset Boulevard. We've got to market ourselves. North America frankly doesn't need F1; I think it's for us to go and prove to them that this is a sport and a spectacle that's worth taking an interest in.”


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