Warm welcome back for Formula One

With much anticipation and excitement, Formula One is returning to the United States. The last time the United States was a part of the Formula One circuit was from 2000-2007 in Indianapolis. The inaugural year for the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis set a Formula One attendance record of around 225,000 people and the following six years had over 100,000 people in attendance. However, the U.S. Grand Prix had the smallest crowds of any Indianapolis Motor Speedway event. Since the 2006-2007 circuit came to a close, the United States has been on hiatus from the sport of Formula One racing until this year.
Formula One will now be returning to the U.S. in November with the United States Grand Prix being held in Austin, Texas. According to Bernie Ecclestone, the President and CEO of the Formula One Group, “For the first time in the history of Formula One in the United States, a world-class facility will be purpose-built to host the event.” United States will host then a second Formula One race in New Jersey called the Grand Prix of America starting in the 2013 or 2014 circuit. With these two races coming to America, this means there will be Formula One races in the United States until around 2021 at least.
Any fan of automobile racing of any kind should have an interest in Formula One–the most intense type of racing out there today. Although there are not usually the huge fiery, pile-up crashes you see when you watch a NASCAR race or the consistently high-speeds you get with IndyCar racing, Formula One offers way more exciting instances.
Drivers have the added challenge of turn-filled tracks where cars reach speeds of 200 plus miles per hour on a straight away and then slow down to 60 mph to make a turn in a matter of seconds. Formula One tracks also have elevation changes and some are as wide as city streets.
Try navigating around downtown Atlanta streets at over 100 mph. Formula One teams also have to judge the weather on race-day in order to formulate their attack on the race which includes which tires to use (there are six of them), the car set-up, and how many pit stops to make throughout the race. These considerations don’t stop in the pit. From start to finish, a driver has to manage his tires, fuel, and his aerodynamics all while taking in feedback from his engineer and battling the other drivers for that first place spot, not to mention the amount of work and thought it takes to simply drive around the track experiencing 5G’s around a turn. Compare that to the measly 2-3G’s a NASCAR driver experiences, and the sometimes 4G’s of IndyCar racing…I think we have a winner.
The reappearance of Formula One racing in the United States could increase the interest of the sport in a country that obviously likes automobile racing. But honestly, I can’t understand why interest in Formula One was so much lower than interest in IndyCar and NASCAR the last time around. Sure, NASCAR is interesting, but at more than 100 laps per race, if you did not notice all the riveting left-hand turns the drivers have to employ so much skill to make the first 100 laps, I am sure you will catch them on the next few go arounds. IndyCar is a step up from NASCAR, the cars have obvious engineering and aerodynamics behind them whereas NASCAR is heavier and more primitive, but IndyCar still just a race around an oval for several hundreds of laps.
Formula One is a whole different level. Formula One racing requires drivers to be in peak physical conditions, aggressive, precise, and have a true understanding of every aspect of the car and how it operates. Drivers have to learn the track backwards and forwards. There is no time to misjudge a turn while barreling down a straightaway. Drivers also have to be a little bit crazy, sitting just inches above the ground driving at high speeds where with one slight mistake they can end up spinning out or crashing into a wall. If the American public gives F1 a chance, I think it could become the next big thing and the next dream job for kids all across America.
Perhaps this next era of Formula One in the U.S. will provide an increase in interest due to the new tracks and events held in the U.S., and maybe that will inspire some young Americans to go into racing and eventually work their way up to F1.