There was a record audience for Formula 1 in the United States on Sunday, with ESPN confirming its largest ratings since it began broadcasting the sport again in 2018.
The American sports channel recorded an average audience of 1.353 million people watched the Bahrain Grand Prix at the weekend, surpassing the 1.2 million viewers it received for the United States Grand Prix in Austin last season, which was watched in person by a sell-out crowd at the Circuit of The Americas.
Viewership peaked at 1.54 million during the race itself on ESPN, and it was the second-highest audience ESPN has ever had in Formula 1, with only the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix surpassing Sunday’s peak ratings.
The dramatic 2021 season was watched by more people in America than ever before, with an average of 949,000 viewers tuning in to ESPN’s race coverage throughout the year.
Formula 1 heads to the States twice in 2022, with the race in Austin supplemented by the first ever Miami Grand Prix in May, on a new circuit built around Hard Rock Stadium in Florida, home of NFL team Miami Dolphins.
Such is the newfound interest in the sport in America, there are now potential plans to take a third race to the country – seen as one of Formula 1’s largest markets in which to invest – by taking to the streets of Las Vegas in the future.
Speaking to PlanetF1 last month, former World Champion Mario Andretti believes the sport is well positioned to host multiple races per year, given the sheer size of the country itself and the ever-increasing number of fans watching the sport.
He said: “We have a very underestimated fanbase for Formula 1 and I think it has been revived a great deal by the Netflix series Drive To Survive, as it contributed a lot of inside knowledge to a younger audience, and that’s obvious with the new energy we have seen among the fanbase here.
“So I think for sure two races here are justified. A third? I don’t know, that’s a question mark in my opinion.”
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