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Formula 1 in the United States: When Paul Newman was a star – Motorsport

Formula 1 in the United States: When Paul Newman was a star – Motorsport

Formula 1 racing circus has always been a travel circus at the American Grand Prix. Because between the Indianapolis Oval, which was part of the World Championship with the Indy500 from 1950 to 1959, and the first show in Miami this weekend, Formula 1 appeared as a guest in ten places.

I have experienced some of these over the last 34 years. There is no shortage of interests. The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) races in Austin got some excitement from the fans, and the new media world (Netflix!) Made a decisive contribution to this.

In Detroit in the 1980s, Americans wondered why American involvement was so low in what was said to be the best series.

The subdivision featured TransAm Touring cars, and the German “warships”, namely the Audi 200 quattro, Buicks and Pontiacs, drove around the ears, topping some American fans. After all: with the exception of Stuck and Rowley, American legend Hurley Hought was part of the Audi team, so he was the “perfect” champion.

Phoenix (1989-1991) had fewer fans than Detroit in three years. Gerhard Berger’s McLaren-Honda Premier (from polar position) was the highlight of Sunday’s 1990 race. Saga P. and I took a taxi from the suburban hotel and came to the yard surprised: no traffic jams, no fans.

“I do not know Berger”

The taxi driver became curious. Yes, we are for racing. “Who’s your favorite?” We are, of course: “Gerhard Berger.” Taxi driver: “I do not know.” We: “And your favorite?” He said: “Paul Newman.” We said: “But he’s only driving in a structure’s competition at Transom.” He added: “But Paul is the only star this weekend.”

In the yard, a young man was standing miserably, and no one noticed him – except a Swiss colleague and me. Eddie Lawson, then a four-time 500cc world champion, came to Arizona from his native California. It is rare to have such a relaxed conversation with a champion.

After a gap of nine years, F1 returned to the United States in September 2000. With a detailed structured infield curriculum at the famed Indianapolis Speedway.

We met a fan at our hotel who was traveling from California. I said: “What do you know about F1?” He said: “Nothing.” I said, “Then why did you come here?” He was adamant: “I always come when something happens in India, even if it’s a soapbox race!”

Press conference with Michael Schumacher and Mika Huckinen before the race. Both seemed utterly bored and did not answer the American reporter’s questions. They did not seem to want to do anything for F1’s image and highlight “Legend” India and show enthusiasm for the new American homeland.

One wonders what the media gurus of the teams and the managers of the drivers are really doing. The news in the American media the next day was devastating.

Wurz became a hero

The Benetton press invitation with Giancarlo Piccella and Alex Worces was different. Both were incredibly excited about the “dream” of driving in the Indy, and Worcester pointed out that the Indy 500 and Full Oval would be the biggest challenge. Media reaction: Wurz and “Fisico” new heroes!

With the mockery of the 2005 tire disaster, F1’s reputation in the United States was long eroded. In 2007, the screen fell in India because at the time the owner, Tony Hullman-George, did not want to leave the million euro.

Austin (since 2012) was a tough race to get started, but continued to be a success among young and techno-enthusiastic people in central Texas – with 300,000 fans (still contagious!) Becoming the biggest Formula 1 party in 2021 – and thousands of Mexicans flocking to Texas.

There will also be ample fan support in Miami thanks to the large Latin community.

And Vegas 2023? Whatever happens, it will be better than the 1981 and 1982 parking lot GB.

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