Since taking over ownership of F1 in 2017, Liberty Media has been determined to expand the world championship’s reach in America. 

Netflix’s documentary series Drive to Survive has been a major success in helping to boost the sport’s popularity in the United States, while Liberty has also secured a deal for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix to join the calendar from 2022. 

This weekend’s United States Grand Prix will be the first to be held in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to attract 120,000 fans at the Circuit of the Americas on Friday and Saturday, and 140,000 on Sunday. 

In the build up to the race rumours have swirled about the prospect of F1 looking to add a third venue in the States, possibly in Las Vegas.

“The US Grand Prix is fantastic and it’s such a huge country, having just one race here isn’t enough to really be able to tap into the sporting culture here and really encapsulate the fans and get them on the journey with us,” said seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton

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“I think definitely we need to have at least two but there are so many great cities to have a grand prix. They’re going to have one... Miami is going to be incredible, as is Austin. 

“I don’t know where they will have the next one, but I am not opposed to that. I think it’s quite cool to have these mini championships in these continents. It’s not a bad thing for the sport.” 

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who sat alongside Hamilton in Thursday’s press conferences, added: “I think Formula 1 is getting bigger and bigger in the last years thanks to the Netflix season [Drive to Survive] here and I can definitely feel it and see it,” Leclerc said. 

"It's great to be here and I would be very happy to have a third race here.” 

Hamilton’s title rival and F1 current championship leader Max Verstappen said: “I love being in America, so a few races in America is definitely good.” 

Perhaps no driver embraced the return to the United States more than Daniel Ricciardo, who arrived in the Austin paddock dressed as a cowboy and even adopted a Texan accent as he addressed the media. 

“I love it,” the McLaren driver said of the prospect of another US-based race. “The more the merrier but we have a pretty busy calendar as it is. I welcome Miami next year. Vegas could be really cool as well.

“I love the atmosphere and it is a good laugh. I always have a good time here. It is not only Austin, I’ve done Miami a couple of times and that was fun as well. 

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“There are many states and cities that I have not yet visited in the US, so there’s more to discover, and F1 takes us there, I’ll be the first guy to put my hand up.” 

Valtteri Bottas was equally enthusiastic, though the Mercedes driver remained tight-lipped about a previous experience in Las Vegas. 

“I once had a weekend in Vegas and after that I thought ‘never again’, but I now may have to eat my words and go back. I’d be happy to go back now, it was many years ago, so I’ve recovered,” The Finn laughed. 

“From my side, more races in the US would be a good thing, and I can see quite a big difference in the recent years of how popular Formula 1 has become in the US, much more people recognise the sport, have their favorite teams and drivers. 

"Even here in Austin, in the town, I never had that many people come to me and show the support, so it’s definitely growing and I would happily go to Miami and even Vegas, if that’s the case.” 

Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll said it would be “great” for F1 to “expand the market in the US”  but believes the calendar should not be allowed to “get out of hand” and risk neglecting the health and wellbeing of people working in the sport. 

His comments came a week after F1 revealed a draft 2022 calendar featuring a record-breaking 23 races. 

“It would be great, I think more races in the States would be great,” Stroll explained. “I just think Formula 1 has to have a limited amount of races, it can’t get out of hand. For the health and wellbeing of everybody, it needs to be thought out wisely. 

“I think if we start pushing the number we currently have it becomes tough for everybody, for the mechanics, for the engineers, everybody in Formula 1 who has families back home. 

“There has to be a logical limit to the amount of races we have, but if more of those are in the US, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.” 

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