Christian Horner wants Formula 1 to succeed in the United States
Ordinarily that goes without saying but the Red Bull Racing Team Principal made himself available to reporters for a rare intimate lunch roundtable, where the executive discussed everything from the Circuit of the Americas to the sport finding success in the United States.
The latter is extremely important as the United States is the largest market for both Red Bull and one of the team’s primary sponsors -- Infiniti. The United States Grand Prix is crucial to the sport's future and everyone involved in it.
“This is a great opportunity for Formula 1 to attract the American market,” Horner said. “It’s important for our partners that we compete in a true world championship and to do that we have to compete in America.”
Horner believes that Formula 1 provides a racing experience you can’t find anywhere else. The pride, pageantry, speed and technology all speaks for itself but the fact that Americans demand action is not lost on Horner.
“It’s important that we put on a good race,” Horner said. “It’s a spectacle you can’t see anywhere else and it’s the climax of a championship. And with the enthusiasm that we’ve generated, we have a great chance to establish something really special here.”
For the race to succeed long-term, Formula 1 will likely need to develop an American driver. Horner agrees but only on the condition that it’s a “winning driver.” Red Bull Racing has a history of investing in American open –wheel drivers and conducted the “Red Bull American Driver Search from 2002-2005. That competition produced Scott Speed who struggled in Formula 1 from 2006-2007 before eventually moving on to NASCAR.
“Having an American driver would definitely help,” Horner said. “Spain did not become a hotspot for F1 until Alonso arrived. America could be in a similar position. We invested in an American driver (Speed) but we learned that it was important that he becomes a winner.”
When asked which American drivers he thought could eventually make the leap to Formula 1, Horner responded with Alexander Rossi, saying the California-native “looked promising.” Rossi, 21, has spent the last two years in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series but tested in Formula 1 during the summer for the Caterham F1 Team.