McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown does not believe that the success of F1 in the United States will depend on the presence of American drivers or teams based in the United States, but he is “looking forward to seeing it happen. I do it,” he said.
F1 is currently growing in popularity in the United States, with three American races announced for the 2023 F1 calendar, joining Austin and Miami with Las Vegas.
But it has been more than 15 years since an American driver last raced full-time in F1. IndyCar driver Colton Herta could have secured an F1 seat at AlphaTauri for 2023, but the FIA has given him F1 superlicence waivers despite pressure from Red Bull. Unsatisfied, the plan was abandoned.
McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown said adding an American driver and a US team to the grid would be great for Formula 1, but the company’s current success has made it clear there is a lack of momentum in the US States He said he felt they were not essential to the popularity of the series.
“I think it would be great to have both, and we will strengthen F1 even more here,” Brown said at Laguna Seca earlier this month.
“But today it’s not either. Look how popular Formula 1 is in America at the moment.”
“So I would love to see it happen, but I don’t think it has to be because F1 is hot today without it.”
Despite his history in IndyCar, Colton Herta’s decision to turn down an F1 superlicence has led to criticism of the FIA system from much of the American racing world.
Alexander Rossi, who made five Formula 1 appearances for Manor in 2015, was given an F1 superlicence decision due to his money-dependent ‘death’ for driver decisions, giving Colton Herta a legitimate chance to switch to F1.
Zak Brown himself has highlighted the need for reform, pointing out that current world champion Max Verstappen and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen would have been denied F1 qualification under the current system.
As Colton Herta tries to change F1, his IndyCar team Andretti is working to secure a new entry on the F1 grid for the future, but they are facing resistance from many of the current teams.
McLaren have always favored adding Andretti to the grid, but Zak Brown said many other teams were “short-sighted and thinking about what is in their best interests in the short term”.
Zak Brown added: I think someone like Andretti can contribute to the growth of this sport. What it has lost in the short term in prize money sharing will come back with increased TV ratings, increased North American sponsorship, and more.
“Our way of thinking is a little different. I think someone like Andretti can help grow the sport. What could be short-term stagnation by sharing prize money is more. There are more degrees on TV, more sponsorship from North America, and more coming back to us.”
“There are a handful of teams that try to protect their income and don’t see the big picture.”
Category: F1 / mclaren