Formula 1 broke new ground in America this year, despite Verstappen’s dominance

November 26, 2023
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After the race, Williams Racing team principal James Vowles said only that he’s “proud” of the improvements Sargeant has made when asked if he’ll race with the team next year.

“Look at the last five races, and how he’s been improving and stepping forward. I think you can see signs that he’s doing what we need to see. But we’re not in a position to confirm that at this point in time,” Vowles said on the F1TV broadcast.

The potential in the domestic market is growing, with American automakers getting involved. Ford has partnered with Red Bull Racing, the runaway constructors champions, to develop the team’s power unit in the run-up to the 2026 season. Andretti is making a bid for adding an all-American team to the grid in 2026, partnering with Cadillac on a bid that has yet to receive final approval.

TV ratings gold

Television viewership presents a more complicated story. The 2023 season has hosted three of the four most-watched F1 telecasts in U.S. history, according to ESPN, which airs the races along with ABC.

Overall, 2023 is “on track to have the second most-viewed season ever” at 1.12 million viewers on average, said ESPN spokesperson Andy Hall. “Last year’s record-setting season, which included the inaugural Miami Grand Prix that averaged a record 2.6 million viewers, averaged 1.21 million viewers.”

Still, that’s a big jump from the average of 554,000 viewers in 2018, when F1 returned to ESPN.

The context of 2023 may explain that. Unlike the more competitive recent seasons, this year has featured start-to-finish dominance by Red Bull’s Verstappen, who clinched his third world championship with six grands prix to spare.

Verstappen’s victory Sunday gave him a record 19 race wins out of the 22 this season. And he broke more records, including the highest percentage of wins, the most consecutive victories, the most points and most podiums in a single season.



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