Daniel Ricciardo is impressed by Formula 1’s recent growth in the United States, saying the sport’s profile in America has noticeably risen over the past two years.
F1 returned to the United States after five years away in 2012 with a grand prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
The event has been a success, playing host to bumper crowds for each of its five races, with the most recent edition in October 2016 being the best-attended yet.
American interest in F1 has also been aided by the arrival of the Haas team, which has a headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and the five-race stint for Alexander Rossi with Manor towards the end of 2015.
Speaking to The Age, Ricciardo spoke positively about F1’s growth in the United States, comparing it to its rise in his native Australia over the past decade.
“It’s still below [the popularity] here in Australia and England and that, but it’s growing, it’s definitely growing,” Ricciardo said.
“Like the last two years you can really see that, people know what Formula 1 is now.”
“I sort of see it a bit like how Australia was pre-Mark Webber’s successful years. You know, the racing fan obviously knew it and knew Mark and knew a lot of the drivers.
“But not really if you walk up to someone on the street, they wouldn’t necessarily know the name Michael Schumacher and maybe Mark Webber, and that’s it.
“I doubt it will ever be like an NBA and a baseball or anything, but yeah it’s growing the awareness is there.
“It is cool, but you know, the Americans are just happy doing their thing. You can always sort of go under the radar somehow when you are over there.”