AMERICANS love their sports, and despite the popularity of basketball, baseball, football and boxing, motorsport remains very much in the mix.
Car culture has been, and continues to be, woven into the fabric of America. And when the most sophisticated and technologically advanced racing series in the world arrives on US soil, people take notice.
About 260,000 fans will descend upon Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas this weekend (October 19-21) for the United States Grand Prix.
That’s more than three times the amount of people AT&T Stadium holds for patrons of America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys.
America also has its own team in F1: The Haas F1 Team, which made its debut in 2016, and the North Carolina-based outfit has gained a huge following with its steady improvement, scoring 29 points in its inaugural 2016 campaign and 47 points last year.
With four races still remaining on this year’s 21-race calendar, Haas has tallied 84 points and is fifth in the constructors’ standings with an eye set on overtaking fourth-place Renault.
The French manufacturer, which will have the services of Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo next season, is just eight points ahead of the Haas F1 Team, and despite France being America’s first ally, there is no such Treaty of Alliance between Haas F1 Team and Renault.
And that’s despite lead driver Romain Grosjean being French.
In the past two races leading into the US Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team has scored eight points to Renault’s one, making the battle for the top of the midfield the truest championship fight as series-leader Mercedes holds a 78-point lead over Scuderia Ferrari and third-place Red Bull is 219 points back.
While there is no laurel wreath or champagne magnum given for earning best-of-the-rest accolades, there is value for a team in only its third season going up against far more established entries with decades of F1 experience.
Despite its underdog status, Haas F1 Team believes it can be best of the rest, and getting there means continued point production from drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
The duo combined for Haas F1 Team’s best season to date, and with their sights set on fourth place in the constructors’ standings, they look to turn Austin into another points-paying performance.