Formula One’s second race at the Circuit of the Americas will show whether it can gain a foothold in the USA, says Alexander Rossi.
The Californian, who is set to drive for Caterham during practice in the Austin race, told F1 Fanatic that Formula One’s return to America last year was “a step in the right direction”.
But he added this year’s race will show whether F1 can sustain its popularity for the long-term in a market it has struggled to crack:
“How the turn-out is this year and how the response is this year I think is kind of the true test, to see if people enjoyed it enough to come back for another year.”
However he believes the sport has a core fan base it can tap into in America: “I think that the motor sports fans, the petrolheads, have appreciation for Formula One and the fact it is the highest form of racing, the best technology in the world and the best drivers in the world. I think there is an appreciation for that.”
F1’s new television package in America has also helped make it “more accessible”, he feels. “I think a lot of that is due to not only Austin but the NBC coverage as well because before it was an elite channel to watch F1 so people if people weren’t really interested they certainly weren’t going to pay money to do watch it.”
Rossi added he’s very keen to see next year’s planned race in New Jersey go ahead: “I think the plan that they have and the market they have would really get US blue-chip companies interested in it because it’s not only happening in their back yard, but I think they’d do a very good job with the event, the exclusivity of it and making it a very kind of corporate event.”
Read the full interview with Alexander Rossi on F1 Fanatic
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”