I wanted to do my digital project on a sport that many in the United States may be unfamiliar with and that is Formula 1. Formula 1 is one of the biggest sporting draws in Europe and South America but the history of the relationship between the sport and the US is complicated. The event would constantly change venues and eventually had a disastrous event in 2005 when only six of the twenty cars lined up on the grid for the race due to a tire dispute and safety concerns. This up and down nature of Formula 1 can be compared to the history of Soccer in the U.S. in my opinion. Soccer has had a hard time taking hold in the U.S. because of the popularity of the countries own national sports and pastimes. Baseball, Basketball, and especially American Football have long overshadowed Soccer and it has had a difficult time taking off. I thought this article that we read “A Stumbling Start for U.S. Pro Soccer” in some ways could speak to how Formula 1 has had a difficult time taking hold in the U.S.
Just like how soccer has been overshadowed by football and baseball, Formula 1 has been overshadowed by IndyCar and particularly NASCAR. Formula 1 is seen as a rich mans NASCAR in many ways in the U.S. and it does not connect with the fans as much as stock car racing. The traditional U.S. motorsport fan loves loud cars that burn as much fuel as possible and drives around a large oval at high speeds. Formula 1 could not be more different with their highly fuel efficient cars although still quite loud, sleek design, and tricky tracks with lots of tight corners. NASCAR appealed to the southern U.S. fans in a way that Formula 1 has never been able to which is where a majority of motorsport fans are. Americans like to watch sports that appeal to the blue collar working American and sports like baseball, football, and NASCAR appeal to the everyday person while sports like soccer and Formula 1 appeal to the upper class Americans. Formula 1 also suffers due to when it is shown on television. Since all but one race is held outside the U.S., many races are held around 9 or 10 o clock in the morning when most Americans would rather still be in bed and even sometimes the races can happen before that around 6 or 7 o clock. While it is afternoon in the countries they are racing in, it is still morning in the U.S. Soccer faces the same issues if someone wants to watch soccer from a league outside the U.S. or watch a major event like the world cup or soccer during the Olympics. Formula 1 although it has an American team has no American drivers which can make it difficult to connect with an audience that has no hometown hero. Even the American team does not employ American drivers which can anger fans from the U.S. Its been tough sledding but it is growing in popularity and could continue to grow in the future. I did not have time to put this in my video due to time constraints but I also looked at how Formula 1 responded to COVID-19 which can relate back to our talks on that subject. Formula 1 immediately tried to implement policies to help the sport go on even with this deadly pandemic on the rise. Formula 1 was supposed to start back in March but the start was delayed due to the pandemic and the season did not get underway until July. Formula 1 along with almost every sport disappeared and the world was left without sports for three to four months while each governing body took the necessary precautions. Formula 1 was one of the first sports to return as the FIA came up with regulations to help the sport go on and while the eventual U.S. grand prix was canceled due to the outbreaks in the U.S., the sport was able to continue. Formula 1 and NASCAR took very similar approaches in how they were going to conduct their seasons and they both have been able to have complete seasons despite complications, showing how any sport whether it be U.S. based or not can successfully move forward to give fans a show. Formula 1s relatively quick return endeared it to U.S. fans more because it was simply a sport to watch. They wanted anything to watch sports related and Formula 1 helped itself in the U.S. market by coming back so soon compared to sports like basketball and baseball. I think it is safe to say the Formula 1 will never be as big as most sports in America but there is a place for it and it is not going anywhere anytime soon.