BIRMINGHAM, UK – McLaren executive director Zak Brown believes that Formula 1 needs a second grand prix in the United States if it is to crack the American market.
Brown has been involved in F1 for many years as a commercial expert, and was appointed to his role at McLaren at the end of last year following long-standing chairman Ron Dennis’ departure.
Following Liberty Media’s acquisition of F1 last fall, there has been a focus on expanding the sport’s profile in the United States and widening its reach.
To aid this process, Brown believes it is crucial that F1 gets a second event in the United States to increase the sport’s exposure to American sports fan.
“I think it can be very big in North America. I think the only reason it’s not is that there’s not enough of it,” Brown told NBC Sports.
“We need a second race. The television is very good, the addition of Haas is a good thing. An American driver would be nice but I don’t think there’s one around the corner.
“A second race and the teams need to do a better job of helping promote the sport and it can get there. It’s moved around too much, it’s not had races.
“We need some stability and date equity which Austin brings, but we need a second race.”
Brown also believes that F1 can take inspiration from the Super Bowl in terms of promotion of races in the cities where grands prix are held.
“I think we need to let the towns know that we’re coming to the race earlier. I’ve landed at some grands prix on a Thursday, land at the airport and you wouldn’t know that the race is happening,” Brown said.
“You land in town for the Super Bowl. By the time the gate has pulled up to the gate, you know the Super Bowl is in town.
“I think the marketing needs to start a city level. Maybe get the drivers there a little bit earlier, get the media turned on earlier, and then have some events.
“I think fan engagement doesn’t just have to be at the race track. It can be during the week in the town centres etc.
“So I think we need to do a better job of event marketing.”