By Adam Tate, Associate Editor
The intense speculation and fear for Circuit of the Americas and the United States Grand Prix’s future after 2015’s torrential floods killed attendance and morale are history because the US GP is well and truly back. Attendance figures for last weekend’s event came to a fantastic 269,889 people for the three day event. Whether it was due to Taylor Swift’s massive Saturday night concert, the perfect weather, Haas F1, or a combination of factors, the numbers topped even the attendance of the inaugural race in Austin from 2012.
I pose that it is more than any of those factors and one far more encouraging. Despite the doom and gloom painted around last year’s event, I witnessed passion from the fans and the teams in attendance in a way I have rarely seen. They returned this year, and in full force. Austin may have seemed an odd choice back when F1 first announced its return to America, but it was the right one. It has embraced this event in a way no other US city could or likely would have. The record crowd was not only a sign of goodwill by a city, and a country, but a sure sign of F1’s growing fan base in America.
A fan base still dwarfed by the likes of NASCAR or the NFL, one that has to wake at odd hours or resort to DVR to endure NBCSN broadcasts filled with far too many commercials, but a growing fan base all the same.
So while Taylor Swift, Bernie Ecclestone, and local meteorologists will take all the credit. The real credit goes to all of us; if you were at the track, if you watched it on TV, if you posted about it on social media, if you read about it here…Thank you! You are what is making Formula One a nascent success in the United States.
See y’all next year!