F1: NASCAR ‘not afraid’ of F1’s soaring USA popularity, but it should be

(GMM) A top NASCAR chief insists the top American motorsport category is not “afraid” of Formula 1.

Thanks in large part to the sport’s US-based owners Liberty Media and the official Netflix series Drive to Survive, F1’s popularity in America is soaring.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said of this year’s Las Vegas GP: “I’ve never seen hype around a race like that.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest sporting even on the globe this year.”

There are also two other US races on the calendar – in Austin and Miami.

The US GP in Austin, Texas, takes place in October, but the same Circuit of the Americas will host NASCAR later this month – and there will be two former Formula 1 world champions in the field.

“I want to have fun, but also do as well as we can,” 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen said.

2009 title winner Jenson Button, meanwhile, will make three appearances this year in NASCAR’s top Cup Series in 2023, beginning in Austin.

“Two F1 world champions in a NASCAR race,” the Briton told AP news agency. “Who would have ever predicted that?”

Some might think it’s a move to leverage F1’s soaring popularity in America, but NASCAR’s chief operating officer Steve McDonnell insists the series is “not afraid” of Formula 1.

“Ratings have remained consistently high over the past three or four years,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“We are not afraid of the rapid growth of Formula 1’s popularity in America, as we are pleased with the pace of our own progress,” McDonnell added.

“After all, we don’t just look at the American market, but at the world as a whole. In order to protect our future, we need to invest in it now.

“We can race on any kind of tracks and provide the fans with the best show.”

Editor’s Note: 

NASCAR and IndyCar – A Troubling Aging Out Fanbase

We see this every week TV ratings are published……..for years now – NASCAR and IndyCar only get 18-20% of their viewers in the all-important 18-49 year old age bracket, while F1 always gets near 50% despite being broadcast in the USA on Sunday mornings when many people are still in bed.

The really bad news for NASCAR and IndyCar – these 18-49 year old bracket numbers (that set TV advertising rates) are not improving one iota despite their social media and gaming efforts.

So should NASCAR and IndyCar be worried about F1 in the USA – darn straight, they should be!

Example TV Rating Data from Last Weekend

Network Event Location Total
18-49 Viewers Ratio:
18-49 Yr Old/
Total Viewers
% Chg.
2022 18-49
% Chg
FOX NASCAR Cup race Las Vegas 3,991,000 813,000 20% 2.22 2.71 -18.08% FOX 4,544,000 963,000 -12.17%
ESPN F1 Race L Bahrain 1,318,000 633,000 48% 0.69 0.75 -8.00% ESPN 1,353,000 656,000 -2.59%
NBC IndyCar Race L St. Petersburg 1,189,000 216,000 18% 0.76 0.89 -14.61% NBC 1,405,000 337,000 -15.37%
FS1 NASCAR Xfinity race Las Vegas 1,133,000 210,000 19% 0.67 0.63 6.35% FS1 1,055,000 213,000 7.39%
FS1 NASCAR Truck race Las Vegas 623,000 170,000 27% 0.36 0.33 9.09% FS1 543,000 120,000 14.73%