F1

Perception of F1 in America is changing fast, says Valtteri Bottas

A photo of Valtteri Bottas in Alfa Romeo clothing at Monza.

Photo: Dan Mullan (fake images)

Formula 1 is booming in America right now, a phrase that no one would have expected to read 10 years ago. The sport is gearing up to host three races in the US next season thanks to the addition of new races across the country, and new and returning fans are flocking to the fastest sport on four wheels.

It was not F1 prepares to hit the track in Austin, TexasThis weekend, Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has spoken about how much attitudes towards the sport have changed in recent years.

“Even if I go back only five or six years, it’s much more popular here [now]”, says Bottas.

A photo of Valtteri Bottas driving his 2022 Alfa Romeo F1 car.

Bottas joined Alfa Romeo in early 2022.
Photo: Rose Cleve (fake images)

Despite the struggles in the United States in the past, States are seen as an untapped market for the overlords of Formula 1. And as such, they added a second race in Miami this year, which quickly broke audience records in its first race.

A third US event is also scheduled to be added to the 2023 calendar when F1 races in Las Vegas. Next year’s Las Vegas night race is arguably one of the most anticipated grands prix in years, despite the ticket price that makes your eyes water providing a barrier for most fans.

So why the sudden change of heart among American motorsports fans?

“I think a big part of that is thanks to Netflix,” says Bottas.

“You just see more people interested in F1 and absolutely loving it. Even for me, my personal fan base in the US has grown a lot in recent years. I used to be able to be anywhere in the United States completely unknown, say six or seven years ago. But nowadays, everywhere I go there is at least one person who comes to me and says: ‘hHey, I’ve seen you on Netflix.‘ MEIt’s pretty funny.

A photo of Valtteri Bottas driving his Mercedes F1 car in Austin.

Bottas has one win and five points in Austin.
Photo: Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 (fake images)

Despite the logistical challenges of increased traffic on the runways and more people stopping the 10-time winner of the race for an airport selfie, Bottas is happy to see his sport prosper.

He says: “It’s good to see, it’s good to be a part of it and it really seems like F1 at the moment is booming all over the world, but especially in the US.”

The Finnish driver prepares to race in Austin with his third different team, after making the switch to the Italian team Alfa Romeo at the start of the 2022 season. Before the race, Jalopnik sat down with Bottas during a virtual event organized by Alfa Romeo sponsor Hyland.

“It’s always good to be competing in the United States,” says Bottas. “So far, all the races I’ve had in the US have been really nice.”

A photo of Valtteri Bottas drinking champagne on the F1 podium.

Winner, winner, real chicken.
Photo: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire (fake images)

The 33-year-old runner is in good form on American soil. He won the US Grand Prix when he was driving for Mercedes in 2019 and racked up Circuit of the Americas points five times, both driving for Silver Arrows and with his old team Williams.

The Texas circuit, says Bottas, has a “great atmosphere” and “a lot of people” excited to see the race.

Today, F1’s presence in America stands in stark contrast to how it was viewed in years past. It fell by the wayside as series like Nascar and IndyCar prospered.

That’s due, in part, to the sport’s rocky past here. He tried and failed to compete in the Watkins Glen Historic Speedway in New York Stateand has previous confrontations on the tracks in Las Vegas and California. But now, it seems those fortunes have changed.

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