LONG BEACH, Calif. — There is momentum building for international auto racing in the United States. That was further solidified when Formula One announced it would add a third race in the U.S. to its calendar for next season.
The series will hold world championship Grand Prix events on the streets of Las Vegas as part of a three-race deal between the city and F1. That’s added on top of a ten-year deal for Miami to host an F1 race to go along with the regularly scheduled United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Texas in 2023.
The trio of races illustrates how Formula One has had a growing audience in the U.S.
But, many are wondering how this momentum in Formula One will impact IndyCar racing. After all, the two series have always been entwined with one another, between the similarity in styles, the talent, and the money involved.
“The momentum on the Formula One side has been undeniable for the last couple of years,” said IndyCar Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden. “It’s continuing to impact here in the United States probably more than anywhere else in the world, which, I think, in a lot of ways is good to see.”
Newgarden does not feel threatened by the surge in popularity of Formula One in the United States while the NTT IndyCar Series continues its own growth.
“What I love about this effect is that we’re drawing so many new fans into motorsports that typically wouldn’t have given it a look,” he continued. “I think that can only be positive for us on the IndyCar side as well, to be honest. I’ve always been in the camp that if you are a motorsports fan, you’re probably a fan of everything.”
Still, many have also expressed opinions that Formula One is starting to “invade” IndyCar territory by holding more races in the United States. So that poses the question: Should IndyCar hold more races internationally as a counter?
“There’s a lot more to it than just going and running a race in Europe,” Newgarden said. “I would love to expose more of the world to IndyCar racing … but when you really try and talk about making those types of moves, we’re primarily a U.S.-based championship because of the fact that most of our partners are U.S. based. So, I don’t think it’s quite as simple.”
Newgarden does think, though, that it is “still needed” for the series to start figuring out a way to run more international events. He said his dream circuit to run on is Suzuka in Japan, which has been home to the F1 Japanese Grand Prix for several years.
Newgarden is also careful to clarify that his desire to run international IndyCar races is not an indication of any “illness” within the sport of Indy car racing. He says you will not find any more parity within a series than in the NTT IndyCar Series, which he says is a very healthy thing.
The series is in California this weekend as drivers gear up for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.