United States could be big market for F1, says Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the United States Formula One Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas on Nov. 18, 2012 in Austin, Texas.

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Lewis Hamilton is optimistic about the chances for F1 to gain more of a foothold in America, thanks to the success of the Austin event.

“I think there is a huge market for Formula One,” Hamilton said on the TODAY show Wednesday. “I think if you watch all the different sports here the people in this country are so passionate about sports in general, whether it be basketball, baseball or NFL or even NASCAR and IndyCar, so they are extremely enthusiastic about competition and wheel-to-wheel racing or just real out and out heart racing or competition.

“Whilst we only have one race here, there’s lots of opportunity here for it to grow. I’ve just definitely seen from 2007, even though we missed out quite a few years, there’s still quite a lot of growth here. I was in New York yesterday for example and there were people waiting outside this building, with signs and just Formula One fans with our team tops on, which was huge.”

Regarding this week’s visit he said: “It was incredible really. I just remember growing up watching all these movies and you see it in New York, all the cool taxis and then to be in the middle of New York, in the street with the Formula One car and actually people had arrived at 5:30 in the morning for the 8:30 show. There were fans there with team tops and it’s just something I just wouldn’t have perhaps expected over here. It really was a great buzz these guys had.

“There’s more and more excitement growing here in the States and as I said, they are massive sports fans over here. I really hope that it continues to grow, and obviously with this race, they did such an amazing job from 2012 until now and I hope that continues to grow. Over here, they have a good recipe for good shows.

“When you go and watch an NBA game you know you’re excited the whole way through. Same with NFL and the same with baseball and so they have a good recipe for entertaining fans and we can perhaps take a bit of that and add it into this race and maybe others and make it even more attractive.”