Formula One romance lost on Americans

Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:03pm EST
 

By Steve Keating

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Americans have had a long-standing love affair with the car but the romance of Formula One, that sets hearts of motor sports fans around the world a flutter, has never managed to get pulses racing in the United States.

After a five-year hiatus, F1 returns to the United States this weekend for the U.S. Grand Prix at the $400 million Circuit of the Americas, where Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel can clinch a third successive driver's title.

As jet-setters, high rollers and A-listers descend on Austin, the quirky Texas capital is gearing up for a week that will see an estimated $220 million poured into the state economy.

Hotel rooms, if one can be obtained, are going at triple the normal rates while rental car companies are soldout and requests for reservations at one of the city's top restaurants are met with a laugh.

In the United States, however, the appeal of motor racing's glamour circuit has somehow been lost on the country that sells more Ferraris and Porsches than any other and it is likely more eyeballs will be focused on Homestead, Florida on Sunday where NASCAR's Chase championship will be decided.

"The truth is we find that there is no crossover," Eddie Gossage, the president of Texas Motor Speedway near Dallas, which hosts two of NASCAR's biggest races, told Reuters.

"NASCAR fans tend to look down their nose at Formula One fans and Formula One fans tend to look down their nose at NASCAR.

"It's apples and sausages, it's not even apples and oranges they are so unlike each other.   Continued...