What does the future hold for F1 in the United States?


Formula 1’s growth in the United States over the past few years has been rapid, as detailed in the two features published earlier today on MotorSportsTalk.

However, one eye will always be on the future. Regardless of the here and now, just how might the perception of Formula 1 in the American market change over the years to come?

The two big talking points about the future for the American F1 market are Haas F1 Team and Alexander Rossi, who could soon grace the grid. Haas has been given the green light by the FIA to go racing in 2016, and the plans are certainly coming into place quite nicely. Earlier this week, the team released a time-lapse video of its new factory being constructed in Kannapolis, and all of the plans to push ahead seem to be coming together.

Naturally, the pessimist’s comparison is to the failed US F1 project from a few years ago. After much of the same fanfare that we are experiencing now about an American team coming to the grid and beating the Europeans at their own game, the project ultimately fell flat without getting even near a full race start.

And that is the big worry for many about Haas: it would be another US F1 and another failure for the sport in the United States.

However, the big difference with Haas is that there is a very successful racing operation and business already in place. The Stewart-Haas NASCAR team acts as proof of that. There is a corporate operation behind the outfit with racing heritage. With US F1, everything was being built from the ground up. Haas has history and resources to rely on.

That does not diminish the immense challenge that Gene and his team will face, though. He even admitted himself that this is the biggest challenge he has ever faced, as it is new territory. The recent financial collapse of both Caterham and Marussia will act as warning signs that one can only hope the Haas operation will recognize and learn from – it is to be avoided at all costs.

But let’s look at the positives: say Haas gets off the ground, all goes to plan, and an American team does indeed hit the grid in 2016. All going well, it would be huge for the sport’s profile in the United States. I have written earlier today about the ‘boom’ that is currently being enjoyed in the American market, but this would only be furthered should the stars and stripes appear on the Haas car, lining up on the grid at the Circuit of The Americas in 2016.

What would make it all the sweeter is if there was an American driver behind the wheel of the car, with Alexander Rossi being the most obvious candidate. Rossi has been within touching distance of his grand prix debut on three occasions, only to be denied in each instance, meaning that he is still without a grand prix start to his name.

After appearing to jump from the sinking ship at Caterham, he has seen his F1 hopes put on ice once again following Marussia’s own collapse. However, he is still fighting, and if the team does push for an American driver, Rossi is the only man that can realistically be picked.

And this is all very encouraging. The sport is on the cusp of having two major breakthroughs for the American market, and it is something that will be embraced. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said a while back that he would like to see Ferrari run with an American driver if it ever opted for a third car, as it would do wonders for the sport’s profile. Although this particular example is a bit far-fetched, it shows that continuing the growth and evolution of the sport in the US is a key priority.

In terms of races, Austin has been and continues to be a great success. The more pressing issue is the push for a second grand prix in the United States, and whether or not it will actually happen.

The biggest charge in recent years has been for a grand prix in New Jersey, taking place around Port Imperial. It was listed on the provisional calendar for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, only to fall from both before it was ratified by the World Motor Sport Council as everything was not in check. It was not listed on the provisional schedule for the 2015 season, and with few developments coming out of GP America, hopes of a grand prix in New Jersey are dimmer than ever.

A recent report suggested that Formula 1 could be set to head to Las Vegas for a grand prix along the city’s famous Strip. Although Bernie Ecclestone was very suggestive about the project, it is a very lofty ambition that would unquestionably leave the sport jumping through hoops. It would be a short-term thing – if F1 wants a long-term marriage, stumbling into a Vegas chapel is not the way to do it.

Two races in the United States would undoubtedly be brilliant for the sport’s profile and for fans in North America. However, it must follow the same blueprint as COTA: it mustn’t be another Indy.

All in all though, the future for the sport in the United States is very bright indeed. Once again, this year’s event in Austin is set to welcome huge numbers of fans, which will likely surpass attendances seen at some of the European rounds over the summer. Throw in an American team or an American driver, and Formula 1’s success in the United States could go off the chart.


Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s