Formula 1 Arrives in the United States: Assessing Its Future in American Motorsports

March 1, 2024

F1-style racing began in the US in 1908 in Savannah, Georgia. At the time, this was not part of the Formula One World Championship as we know it today. Although this racing style was a big deal, it took some time for the F1 to make an impression in the US. The motorsport is now a firm fixture on US sports information for bettors best F1 betting sites, while the home of the US F1 World Championship Grand Prix is the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) where the race is held yearly.

The first United States Formula One World Championship Grand Prix happened in Sebring, Florida, in 1959 when Uassi racer in his Cooper-Clmax clinched the first US F1 World Championship. Until then, American racing fans didn’t have a chance to see these incredible F1 cars and drivers in person.

The Arrival of Formula 1 in the US

After Florida’s Sebring F1 racing, the US World Championship Grand Prix race bounced to several tracks as the Formula One brand tried to get Americans excited about the sport. 1960, the next US Grand Prix was at the Riverside International Raceway in California. Eventually, the US found a home for the World Championship race in New York.

Watkins Glen, New York – F1’s Former Home in America

Between 1961 and 1980, Watkins Glen, New York, was the home for motorsports fans following the Formula One World Championship. The track layout was challenging for the drivers, but it always had a fun vibe. The track held 20 races over 20 years between 1961 and 1980 before Formula One took a hiatus from the US.

Those years helped to grow the popularity of F1 racing in America. Even though the event didn’t race in the US for 8 years between 1981 and 1988, US fans who were already following Formula One over its 22 years across Sebring, Riverside, and Watkins Green still followed the race around the globe.

F1 Returns to Phoenix, Arizona, After An 8 Year Break

The Formula One World Championship returned to the US from 1989 to 1991. The race took place on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona. The track was known as the Phoenix Street Circuit and was an exciting event. The city streets were shut down, and F1 pros like France’s Alain Frost (1989) and Brazil’s Ayrton Senna (1990 and 1991) took pole position.

Another 8-Year Heitus Before Returning to Indianapolis

After Phoenix, Arizona, US F1 fans faced an 8-year break before the Championship was back again—this time on the Indianapolis Speedway. The same track also hosted the Indianapolis Motorcycle Grand Prix. From 2000 to 2007 (8 years and 8 races), US motorsports fans saw German Michael Schumacher dominate in his Ferrari with five wins out of eight.

Finland’s Mika Häkkinen took the number one spot on the podium in 2001 in his McLaren-Mercedes, Rubens Barrichello won in 2002 for Ferrari, and England’s Lewis Hamilton won the final F1 race in Indianapolis in 2007 driving for McLaren-Mercedes. Overall, the Ferrari team won six out of eight races this time.

After the 2007 race, the US would not see the Formula One World Championship Grand Prix return between 2008 and 2011.

The New Arrival of F1 to the US in Austin, Texas – Circuit of the Americas (COTA)

Since 2012, the USA has held an F1 Championship race yearly, except for 2020, due to Covid. The new home of F1 is in Austin, Texas, on the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), a 3.426-mile track. Initially, Lewis Hamilton retained his 2007 win with another F1 Championship first-place podium spot in 2021. The next year, Sebastian Vettel won first place for the Red Bull Racing-Renault team. However, from 2014 to 2017, England’s Lewis Hamilton won 4 years running for Mercedes.

After this, Hamilton’s form dropped off, and in 2018, Finnish racer Kimi Räikkönen won for Ferrari. In 2019, Valtteri Bottas put Mercedes back in the number one spot on the podium.

COVID had its say in 2020, with no races in the US before returning in 2021, 2022, and 2023, in which Dutchman Max Verstappen won for team Red Bull Racing-Honda, Red Bull Racing-RBPT, and then Red Bull Racing-Honda RBPT.

The Return of the Formula One World Championship in 2024

The future of Formula One racing looks promising for the US. The Austin, Texas – Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has made itself a home for the sport, becoming a firm fixture as part of the sport’s world circuit. For now, there is no hint of the F1 brand cutting out the US from its plans, so the future looks bright, and the COTA will likely hold many more grand prix races.

The US F1 Grand Prix is already lined up for October 18-20, 2024, and tickets are available via the COTA F1 single-day tickets page. The only downside for US Formula One fans is that there are no US F1 racers, which is odd considering the US is home to so many motorsports.