Sold-out crowd of 380,000 at COTA shows F1 can add third US race – Brawn

2021 United States Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The success of last weekend’s United States Grand Prix shows Formula 1’s popularity in the country could sustain more than two races, says the series’ motorsport director Ross Brawn.

The 2022 F1 calendar includes two races in America. In addition to the race in Austin, the series will make its first visit to Miami, tickets for which went on sale this week.

During the weekend COTA chairman Bobby Epstein indicated F1 is considering an additional American race in Las Vegas which would take place around the same time as the Miami event. Las Vegas was part of a trio of American F1 races in 1982, but within a decade the series had left the country entirely.

However Brawn believes the sport is beginning to achieve real progress in its key US market.

“We’re seeing a very strong engagement with American fans now,” he said. “For years, F1 was a cult hobby in America but we are now seeing a genuine increase in engagement.

“Fans know the drivers, they know the personalities, they know the nuances of F1. It’s very exciting and I think it demonstrates F1 can comfortably have two races in the USA – and maybe more – because of the passion of the fans we’ve experiencing this weekend.”

Report: Las Vegas F1 race likely to get spring slot alongside Miami, says COTA chairman
Having been unable to race in Austin last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, F1 raced before a large audience last weekend. Brawn claimed a total of 380,000 fans attended the Circuit of the Americas across the race weekend, slightly lower than the figure of 400,000 indicated on F1’s television graphics during the event.

“There was so much great stuff over the weekend, such as basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal arriving at the podium with the trophies in an awesome Longhorn car,” said Brawn. “He came and had a chat to me afterwards and it turns out he’s a bit of a petrolhead.

“This was a very American weekend and it was all the better for it. We love races like this. It’s fantastic to be so close to a great city like Austin, and great to see 380,000 fans turn up across the weekend and create a cracking atmosphere.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

36 comments on “Sold-out crowd of 380,000 at COTA shows F1 can add third US race – Brawn”

  1. It certainly helps all the new fans to have such an enthralling championship battle this year and a couple surprise winners.

  2. DarkSchneider
    27th October 2021, 11:41

    2023 Calendar :
    397 races .

  3. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    27th October 2021, 11:44

    That is a far too easily made conclusion
    – ignoring the effect of current excitement in the championship
    – ignoring the effect of no race in 2020, not in Austin, not in Mexico nor in Canada and in 2021 again no Canada race.
    – ignoring the effect that the 2nd race has not even happened

    380,000 is a 3 day total whereby maybe race day was 150,000.
    Did they study how many would attend all 3 of US races or 2 of 3 US races or just 1. If you split the answers equally the 150,000 Sunday attendance in Austin would drop to 100,000 for sure that would not make the Austin organizers very happy.

    Using their logic F1 should then also add a 2nd Dutch race as Zandvoort was easily sold out (demand 10x max capacity) even before capacity was reduced to 2/3 due to Covid.
    Similar why has there never been a 2 races in UK (other than double Silverstone in 2020 Covid year) – attendance is always high at a UK race.

    1. Well said.

    2. Because The Netherlands and England are smaller than most US states, and there is also 330+ million people.

      1. Here is just Texas overlayed over part of Europe:

        1. In the EU live 500 million people.
          The US has a population density of ~36/km2 and the EU has a density of ~117/km2.
          The EU has got 1.5 times the population in absolute terms and 3.5 times the population density of the US…

          1. And how many races?

          2. Which is also why there are 10 races in Europe (not counting Russia or Baku). You don’t really have much of a leg to stand on.

          3. and your point is? Europe has like a dozen races…

    3. The race day total was about half of what normal Indy 500 attendance would be (about the same as the 40% limited attendance to this years 500), and the three day total is about what a well attended Indy 500 would be for race day.
      That should put in perspective how gigantic the Indy 500 is.

      1. Don, if the crowd was capped at 40% of the total capacity of the Indianapolis circuit, then that figure of 135,000 would suggest the total capacity of the venue is in the order of 337,500 people.

        How, therefore, could you possibly get a crowd of 380,000 into a venue which is only capable of holding 337,500? Your claims about crowd attendances at the Indy 500 seem extremely questionable, especially given that not only are you extremely inconsistent with your figures, you’ve never provided any evidence for your claims.

        If you don’t want people to think your figures are fake and that you are exaggerating your claims, it would be about time that you started offering some evidence for your figures.

        1. Indy seats 325,000 people. It’s a big track, I’ve been there. I’ve also been to COTA for F1. The seating in both are impressive.

          Claiming that there are 150,000 for the USGP on race day is a bit understateds. If you’ve been to the track on race day previously, this was a massive turnout and F1 is looking for more fans in the US. They’ll get it with Miami, and they’ll get the clientele they want. I’m sure experts will check footage and finances and see if they can make money on a 3rd. But there will be more races as they’re already discussing it.

    4. 1993 European Grand Prix – Donnington Park.

      1. Also, Brands Hatch 1983/1985.

    5. Agreed.
      Also factor in that fans have generally been deprived of most live international sporting events for nearly 2 years, so jumping to conclusions based on this event is presumptuous.
      One swallow doesn’t make a summer.

  4. As an F1 fan in the US, I truly hope that the second and third races will work. The country is large enough both physically and population wise to justify 3 races. I hope the interest is there as well.

    1. At least the crowd deserved it.
      Apart from the celebrities with an attitude, it was a great spectacle.

  5. I don’t like Drive to Survive series, but I think it really give a boost to youth and American audiences.

    1. @ruliemaulana but how long until they realize they were sold a WWE / reality show event? F1 is different from that.

      1. Coventry Climax
        28th October 2021, 0:04

        Nope, F1 used to be different from that. And it’ll get worse.

  6. I think we should keep it at one race per country. No matter how big the country is. Rather focus on adding a race in Africa than doing two, let alone three races in the US. If multiple venues are open to organising the grand prix, they can just switch around year by year like Hockenheim and Nurnburgring did for a while. That keeps the calender fresh aswell.

  7. How many people went to Austin because they couldn’t go to Montreal this year? How many people will go to Miami instead of Austin next year?
    I like this circuit and am really glad it had great success this year, but let’s not get carried away either!

  8. Sure, Ross

  9. When they mention these figures “across the weekend”, does it mean that they sell 3 different tickets? One for Friday practices, another for Saturday practice 3 and Qualy, and a last one for races? I thought COTA had capacity for 140000 people.

    1. That’s how tickets are sold for all race weekends.
      Some people will buy Saturday only tickets and stay home on Sunday to watch the race, since Saturday has usually has many support races while Sunday is taken up with driver parades and pit walks.

    2. @omarr-pepper
      It’s a blatant manipulation of ticket sales use by dodgy promoters to enhance attendance figures. Instead of the one ticked on person measurement, and then using actual numbers threw the gate per day. Promoters multiply the numbers by counting a multi day pass as two or three separate sales, how many days it covers. So if you purchase a three day pass you are counted as three separate people over the race weekend, so that’s a multiplier of up to three per ticket. The beauty of this system is you don’t even have to turn up, as this is ticket sales only, not bums on seats on race day.

      1. *through

  10. I am afraid that Ross has drank the kool-aid.

  11. It’s great to see the interest in Formula One rising in the USA, but the calendar is very full already; what would this/these additional race(s) come at the expense of? The USA is certainly large enough to deserve additional races if the interest is there, but personally, I’m frustrated enough with 22/23 races per year. I love Formula One but it’s beginning to feel like having Christmas every day.

    The dilution of the product is not good for many reasons; mainly the health and wellbeing of the teams. These are real people who are being stretched too far. Toto Wolff speaks of “substitutes”, but not every team can afford that at the moment. Add to this the journalists and organisers and you have a lot of people being away from home the majority of weekends in a year. For many, this is not what they signed up for 5-10 years ago when they started. Of course, it has it’s benefits including world travel and having a “cool” job, but the fatigue will soon build up.

    From a sporting perspective as well, the more races there are, the less likely it is that a season will boil down to a last race title decider.

    I don’t want to see more than around 20 races. Where they are doesn’t bother me, as long as the priority goes to places that will see a good race and a passionate, sell-out crowd; not car parks or deserts.

    1. Making life easy for journalists was important in an era before the internet because they gave the sport reach to fans via media outlets. With social media and that kind of thing sport series no longer have to concern themselves with journalists and that kind of thing. They run their own content channels. Formula 1 literally produces its own podcast, it’s one written content (even ‘critical’ content), pretty much everything traditional media used to do, except now they have complete control. Exactly what they want. This site used to be called F1Fanatic remember? It’s all about complete control.

      Liberty, with the new spending-cap and 200 buy-in is pretty much ensuring each team will be billion dollar operations in the near future. So all these added races and so on, are just adding dollars to the bank account. it’s astute business.

      They’ll probably make some concessions for mechanics and that kind of thing because it’ll become politically too tricky. But everything else? nah… it’ll keep on the same trajectory.

  12. 380,000? That’s the type of creative number manipulation that gets the attention of tax officials.

  13. Coventry Climax
    28th October 2021, 0:06

    Biggest crowd ever. Now which trustworthy individual does that remind me of?

  14. Don’t want two US races, never mind three.

  15. I know he was probably just answering a question from someone but I do wish that Ross would just hold back a bit on his commentary.
    In reality, they need to see how next year goes with 2 events. If they’re both well attended, then maybe they can start thinking about having a third in the US. Its too early to really make the sort of statement he just made.

Comments are closed.