F1 will overtake NASCAR as America’s favourite motorsport “shortly” – Sargeant

2023 F1 season

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Formula 1 is on course to overtake NASCAR as the most popular form of motor racing in America, the country’s new driver believes.

Logan Sargeant will be the first driver from the United States to start an F1 season in 16 years when he lines up on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix next month.

F1 has enjoyed a surge in popularity since it was bought by American media group Liberty Media six years ago. Sargeant is from Florida, but has mainly been based in Europe while pursuing his racing career.

However he says interest in F1 has clearly grown in his homeland. “It seems almost as big as NASCAR and IndyCar, if not bigger,” the 22-year-old told media including RaceFans at Williams’ launch event today.

America has woken up to F1, says Sargeant
“It’s hard to say without seeing the numbers,” he continued. “But it seems like it’s pretty popular, and that’s a positive.”

While the popularity of IndyCar racing declined sharply when the series split into rival CART and IRL factions in the nineties, NASCAR has long been a huge draw for American fans, though its popularity has waned slightly in recent years.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of diehard IndyCar and NASCAR fans who don’t always like it,” said Sargeant. “But I think with the way the sport is going in America, it will, if it’s not already, it will be the biggest here shortly.”

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The popularity of Netflix series Drive to Survive is widely credited for bringing the sport to the attention of fans in America. Sargeant said he has noticed more people taking an interest in F1.

“To be honest, I don’t think back in the day anyone really cared, anyone really understood what it was,” he said. “It’s funny, people text me now and be like ‘hey, I realise how big of a thing this could eventually be or how big F1 really was’.

“It’s a completely different world now in terms of America. Everyone knows what Formula 1 is now over there. It’s nice to see the transition and hopefully it keeps growing.”

Liberty has pushed hard to expand the sport’s reach in America and has added a third race in the country this year. Sargeant will appear in front of his home crowd in Miami, Austin and Las Vegas this year.

“I think coming into the sport, straight into a year where there’s three US grands prix is a special opportunity and a privilege at the same time,” he said.

“F1 in America is clearly at its peak and it’s still on the way up, which is a massive positive. You can see how many questions from friends and family and how curious people are about the sport and it does show how much it’s growing in America.”

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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...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “F1 will overtake NASCAR as America’s favourite motorsport “shortly” – Sargeant”

  1. Yep, and F1 is following the same trajectory in America for the same reasons as NAScar.

    And noone cares about NAScar at all outside America.

    The lessons have not been learned.

    1. Not quite, Nascar was super invested in baby boomers that have long found themselves on fixed incomes or are no longer with us at all.

    2. And noone cares about NAScar at all outside America.

      It’s racing, so it’s interesting to people all over the world.
      It’s also a domestic (regional) series, so it doesn’t actually try to popular outside of America.

      Not every part of it is as good as it could or should be, but ultimately that’s all subjective.
      So it’s exactly like F1 in that sense, isn’t it…

      1. nascar did actually try to attract overseas fans as the domestic audience began to fall. that was part of why they started branding international categories with the nascar branding as a way into those markets. they also tried to get some bigger international tv deals a decade or so ago.

        ultimately though while there was an initial spike in interest once everyone started to see through the gimmicks and show over sport approach interest overseas began to dwindle just as it had domestically.

        and the more gimmicks they threw at it to try and hotshot interest the more of the dedicated audience they turned off and those they hoped to attract by going more show didn’t stick around for long.

  2. That’s like overtaking someone who’s run out of gas, fallen asleep by the side of the road, and had their wheels stolen.

  3. I was actually considering watching Nascar as my dissatisfaction with F1 grows. However, the whole play off thing and competition cautions just kills whatever interest I can muster.

  4. NASCAR is the perfect lesson to describe where F1 is heading.

  5. One could ask if there is any cross-over from NASCAR to F1 or vice versa.? Somehow I doubt it.
    Saw a comment from a restaurant operator in the Montreal area who had an operation at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
    He said F1 was great. They came, spent $$$ and consumed the best of everything and lots of it.
    For the Indy Car races, it was plenty of beer and not much else.
    When NASCAR showed up, the spectators drank beer, but they brought their own. Can you spot the difference.?
    This is North America. Most of the F1 races (17 out out of 22) take place in time ones half a world away. I don’t mind getting up before 5:00am on a Sunday for live coverage (Wet Coast Zone) but how many NASCAR converts will be doing that.? Expansion will be new fans more than NASCAR converts.
    If someone can get Kimi and Riciardo into the Watkins Glen NASCAR race, I will certainly put beers on ice for that.

    1. Can you spot the difference.?

      NASCAR fans know the value of a dollar and don’t want their hard earned ripped off.

      Indy fans think it’s patriotic to occasionally pay too much to support private enterprise.

      F1 fans gorge themselves on whatever someone else is paying for.

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