Can fast-growing Formula 1 become mainstream in the United States?

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali believes his sport has the entertainment value that American sports fans are drawn to. The challenge is configuring Formula 1 so it can make a bigger splash in the U.S. — where other sports are already dominating the entertainment scene. 

"The DNA of Formula 1 is all about entertainment," Domenicali told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. "The show, the technology, the passion and personality of drivers, the rivalries, it's all part of the menu and falls in line with the ingredients of what American sports fans love to see. With respect for other (U.S.) sports, we want to connect with potential American fans and promote who we are on the loud speaker."

Part of that promotional effort starts with putting more racing on display stateside. While Europe is the sport's traditional base, the nearly year-round world championship operates globally — with 13 of 23 Grand Prix races in the 2021 season slated to take place outside of Europe. Formula 1 is staging the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and now is slated to have a race in Miami in 2022 — with a race around Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins. 

"Miami is the perfect destination for a Formula 1 race," Domenicali said. "It's a multicultural city with high energy." 

Welcome to Miami 😎🌴

Jump onboard for a virtual lap of the sun-soaked circuit that will play host to @f1miami in 2022! 🎥

🎥 x Apex Circuit Designs
🎮 x Assetto Corsa#MiamiGP#[email protected]/McHCF5Mc1Z

The single-seat, open-wheel race cars of Formula 1 have broad appeal internationally but F1 hasn't made a major impact in the U.S. yet, as racing series like NASCAR and IndyCar (also open-wheel) stand in the way. 

Formula 1 cars are the fastest regulated road-course racing cars in the world, owing to high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce. Domenicali said the goal is not to replace NASCAR or IndyCar, but to complement them by offering something both have — personality and rivalry — while also offering a different appeal.

"We only have 20 elite drivers who have beaten out others to be among the 20 best," Domenicali said. "That creates the rivalries and drama and then it's our duty to show off their personalities to the U.S. audience. They are stars with incredible personalities of different cultures."

One of those stars is Lewis Hamilton, the defending Formula 1 champion and current Drivers' Championship leader. Formula 1 holds titles for both the drivers and then a World Constructors' Champion as well. The constructors' title is given by the FIA based on the most successful F1 car designers over the season based on a points system. Mercedes is the reigning 2020 champion. 

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