Brown: F1’s success in the US does not depend on American driver or team


F1 is currently enjoying huge popularity in the United States, with three American races announced on the calendar for 2023, with Las Vegas joining Austin and Miami.

But it’s been over 15 years since an American last raced full-time in F1. A recent attempt by Red Bull to get IndyCar driver Colton Herta an AlphaTauri seat for next year failed as the FIA ​​refused to grant him a super license exemption.

Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing, said adding an American driver and team to the grid would be great for F1, but he didn’t think they were essential to the series’ popularity in the United States, as it turns out. from current success.

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“I think it would be great for both of them to happen, it would further improve Formula 1 here,” Brown said at Laguna Seca earlier this month.

“But we have neither today, and look how popular Formula 1 is in America now.

“So I would love to see it happen, but I don’t think it has to happen. Because Formula 1 is hot today without it.”

Fans look under the cover of the Hard Rock Stadium

Photo By: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The decision to deny Herta a super license despite his track record in IndyCar sparked criticism in American racing circles of the FIA’s system.

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Alexander Rossi, who made five F1 appearances for Manor in 2015, said the “greed” of previous superlicense eligibility decisions had cost Herta its rightful chance to make the move to F1.

Brown himself pointed to the need for reform, noting that current world champion Max Verstappen and 2007 title winner Kimi Raikkonen would both have been denied F1 graduations by the existing system.

Along with Herta trying to make the switch, his IndyCar team, Andretti, has been working to secure new entry into the F1 grid in the future, but has faced opposition from many of the existing teams.

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McLaren has always been in favor of adding Andretti to the grid, but Brown felt that many of the other teams were “very short-sighted and thinking about what is only in their best interests in the short term.”

Brown added: “We think a little differently. I think someone like Andretti can help the sport grow. What we might lose in the short term by sharing prize money will come back to us with more TV ratings, more sponsorship from North America, etc.

“It’s a handful of teams trying to protect their own income and not seeing the bigger picture.”