Expect to see more ten gallon hats, beef ribs and red, white and blue in Formula One’s future.
Motorsport’s global roadshow will soon be owned by American entertainment company Liberty in a deal worth more than $10.5 billion – a development n racer Daniel Ricciardo believes will ensure the sport continues its growth in the USA.
Ricciardo, who finished third in this year’s USA Grand Prix at Austin, Texas, says F1 will never match America’s home-grown sports but maintains there is huge potential for further inroads.
“It’s still below … here in and England and that, but it’s growing, it’s definitely growing,” Ricciardo said of recent grands prix in Austin. “Like the last two years you can really see that, people know what Formula One is now.”
When the Liberty sale is completed in the first half of 2017 the company is expected to put a renewed focus on digital media in a bid to expand the sport’s footprint in the United States and other growth markets.
Now one of the sport’s leading drivers, Ricciardo’s embrace of American culture makes him a popular figure in Texas – he seems to enjoy the barbecue ribs particularly – but he does not expect to be a nationwide star there anytime soon.
“I sort of see it a bit like how 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 and they wouldn’t necessarily know the name Michael Schumacher and maybe Mark Webber and that’s it,” he said.
“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.”
Ricciardo is currently enjoying an post-season holiday at home in Perth and said he’d like to spend more time in America when he is finished his F1 career.
“I think once I’m done with the F1 stuff and all that I don’t see myself full-time in Europe. I love . I love that. I think I’ll always spend a good chunk of time here you know once it all slows down. And then I think elsewhere in the world.
“I’ve enjoyed America the last few years. So I do envisage settling down, in terms of not doing 100 flights a year, but I’m sure part of me will still want to travel.”
The USA Grand Prix will be held later in the season on October 22 in 2017, with Ricciardo gearing up again for a marathon season that begins in Melbourne on March 26.