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“You Have to Be a Bit Careful”: Mario Andretti Slaps F1 With Brutal Reality Check over American Expansion Plans

Nischay Rathore

“You Have to Be a Bit Careful”: Mario Andretti Slaps F1 With Brutal Reality Check over American Expansion Plans

Ever since Drive To Survive helped soar F1’s popularity in the US, the sport’s management has shown keen interest in further expansion. Formula One Management (FOM) has gone from one American race to three in a year now. Taking inspiration from the Las Vegas GP’s mega success in the inaugural year last season, FOM looks interested in adding a fourth American race to the calendar. Former American F1 champion Mario Andretti, however, is not a fan of the prospect.

The 84-year-old believes three races in America over the span of a year are enough. Anything more would end up in oversaturation. Andretti also feels four races can end up killing the charm of F1 among the American audience.

Speaking with Sports Illustrated, the 1978 champion said, “Personally, I think you have to be a bit careful not to come there too often. I think there has to be something you really look forward to. Sometimes when you have too much of a good thing, you appreciate it less.”

While comparing the current era with his own, Andretti observed, “Seventy-five years ago we were hoping for at least two, but now we have three. They are three very popular races. We saw that in the turnout (of visitors), but let’s try not to exaggerate.”

The Las Vegas GP joined the F1 calendar in 2023. F1, FIA, and the organizers took a massive bet on the fixture by investing a whopping $500,000,000 in the project. The race created enough excitement for the F1 community.

That success story has inspired FOM to further expand the F1 calendar in America. The latest name doing the rounds on the internet is that of Chicago. Earlier reports also suggested an interest in New York.

Did the cold shoulder from New York pivot F1’s interest to Chicago?

New York emerged as the favorite destination for F1 to dip its toes after Las Vegas’ success. Replicating the model, FOM was keen on constructing racing infrastructure in the heart of the city. Owing to its location and popularity, the area around Central Park came up as a prime location for the Grand Prix.

Similar to the Las Vegas Strip, commuting to Central Park is easy. This factor could ensure a large footfall, resulting in the maximization of gate receipts. The NYC mayor Eric Adams, however, wasn’t interested in holding the race weekend there. Adams proposed F1 to organize the Grand Prix on the Randalls & Wards Islands.

Given how the location would have ended up hurting the footfall, Liberty Media (F1 owner) CEO Greg Maffei decided to call off the project. That was when the F1 owners shifted their gaze to Chicago.

In most probabilities, the track would either be a street circuit or a hybrid one in Chicago. F1 has already filed for the grant of a trademark over the name of the Grand Prix. However, a green flag from local authorities is yet pending.

Post Edited By:Vidit Dhawan

About the author

Nischay Rathore

Nischay Rathore


Nischay Rathore is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush with over a thousand articles under his belt. An avid Ayrton Senna admirer, Nischay embarked on his sports journalism journey despite completing graduation in Law. When not covering the high-speed thrills of the pinnacle of motorsport, he can be seen enjoying crime thrillers and 90s gangster movies with a hearty bowl of buttery popcorn.

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